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Staying safe in Pennsylvania parking lots this holiday season

Pennsylvania parking lots are surprisingly dangerous places. The National Safety Council reports that there are upwards of 50,000 crashes in parking lots and garages each year. These crashes result in more than 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries. We may assume that parking lots are relatively safe because of the slow speeds, but these statistics prove that is not always the case.

Parking lot accidents spike on Black Friday every year, and they remain high throughout the entire holiday shopping season across our state and around the country. It is possible to decrease the chances of being involved in a parking lot or garage crash by exercising common sense and following some basic safety tips.

Put down the phone

When you are driving through a parking lot, put down your electronics. Distracted driving is a big problem, with 66 percent of drivers saying they’d make or take calls in a parking lot. A further 63 percent said they’d program a GPS device while driving through a parking lot or garage, 56 percent of drivers texting, and 52 percent using social media.

All these things can be done safely while parked in the lot. There is no need to multitask and do it while driving through a busy holiday season parking lot or garage structure.

Watch out

If you are driving, make sure you look around at your surroundings. This is pertinent from a personal crime prevention standpoint, but also from a safety perspective. You should also use your turn signals, drive in the marked lanes (instead of across the lot), slow down, obey stop and turn signals, and pay close attention to people walking around you. This is especially important as you are backing out, since nine percent of pedestrian deaths in parking areas occur from backing out incidents.

When you are walking, stay in well-lit areas and walk against the flow of traffic whenever possible. Try not to dart in and out of parked cars, and try to remain as visible as you can to others. If you are hurt in a parking lot accident despite your best efforts, though, an attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries.