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Parking lots: An unexpected danger zone

You may not think that parking lots are particularly dangerous. However, underestimating their danger could be one of the reasons why so many accidents do occur.

Parking lots bring together many factors that can quickly turn a relatively simple situation into an accident. Parking lots are small, confined areas that have lots of cars and people sharing the same space. Since pedestrians do not usually have designated walking lanes, they can easily walk into the path of a car. Here are other common dangers that are present in parking lots:

  • Parking lots are not always well lit - Both drivers and pedestrians may find it difficult to see and gauge their proximity to one another.
  • Parking lots can be busy and confusing - During the holiday season, parking lots can be extremely busy with impatient drivers who want to start their shopping. If at a mall, drivers may be more concerned with finding a spot near their desired store than driving.
  • Speed can be an issue - People entering or exiting a parking lot want to do so quickly to either find a spot or hurry to their next location. Both situations can cause drivers to excessively speed. Drivers also regularly speed to reach an open parking spot before another driver. Unfortunately, this places pedestrians and other drivers at-risk.
  • More than cars and pedestrians - Parking lots can also have delivery vehicles, buses, bicyclists and pets. You can even encounter people pushing strollers, the elderly using walkers and kids on skateboards. All these different people and vehicles contained in a small area can be dangerous.
  • Frustrations can run high - People are not always in a good mood in a parking lot. From losing a parking spot to missing out on a deal in the store. People can also be dealing with crying kids or being late for an appointment. Road rage can turn into parking lot rage very quickly, meaning people may drive aggressively and cause a bad accident.
  • No road signs - Many parking lots are uncontrolled areas that do not provide direction to motorists. This means some drivers may take unusual paths to get where they want to go.
  • Distracted parking - Once people arrive at a parking lot, they may believe they are done driving and feel safe to use their cell phone. Using a phone while in a parking lot can lead to an accident just as easily as when driving down the road.

When you are driving in a parking lot, you should have the same amount of attentiveness and caution as you do at any other time driving.

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