Parking lot and parking garage accidents can be far more complex than crashes that occur on standard roadways, especially for pedestrians. Pedestrians must always be extra vigilant of speeders, vehicles backing up, distracted drivers and hazardous weather conditions. Despite the low speeds typically traveled in parking areas, accidents involving pedestrians can be catastrophic and even deadly.
The Complex Factors In Parking Lot Accidents
A 2016 poll conducted by The National Safety Council reveals shocking statistics regarding distracted drivers and parking areas. Out of the 2,500 participants polled, 66 percent of motorists admitted to making a phone call while driving through a parking area. Additionally, drivers have admitted to engaging in other distracted behavior such as programming a GPS, using a smartwatch, flipping through digital music, texting, using social media, checking emails and snapping pictures.
Aside from distracted driving, speeding and careless backing up are common factors in parking lot accidents involving pedestrians. These accidents can happen unexpectedly and can result in serious and fatal injuries. A 52-year-old Waco resident was recently struck in a parking lot by a motorist who failed to practice caution while backing up. The man later died after being taken to the hospital for life-threatening injuries.
Hazardous weather can contribute to parking lot accidents as well, especially if the parking lot has a poor drainage system. Considering the recent drop in temperature in Texas, icy conditions can't be ruled out either.
Parking Lot Safety Can Be Improved
In a Safety and Health article, The Parking Lot Advisory Group LLC offers some tips on how to make parking lots safer for motorists and pedestrians. The company, who designs parking areas and analyzes current parking lots and garages, strongly favors:
- One-way lanes and aisles: One-way lanes and aisles can reduce distractions and make the flow of traffic more predictable for pedestrians and motorists.
- Rumble strips: Drivers who approach speed bumps without caution can lose control of their vehicle and put pedestrians at risk. That's why rumble strips may be a safer alternative. According to the Parking Lot Advisory Group LLC's president, Jerry Marcus, when drivers approach rumble strips, the sound emitted may give them the impression that they're accelerating.
- Lighting: Parking lot accidents involving pedestrians sometimes happen at night, especially in poorly lit areas. Parking lots should be well-lit to enable visibility for pedestrians and drivers.
- Reduction in pedestrian distances: In order to prevent drivers from having to walk in the line of traffic, ramps should be placed on the outside of parking garages and away from motor vehicles.
- Highly visible and well-maintained spaces and arrows: Painted directions should be simple and to the point. Highly visible arrows and spaces, preferably with reflective tape, can prevent confusion for drivers.
- Effective drainage systems: Moisture should be kept out of parking lots and garages in order to prevent hydroplaning and sliding on ice.
What Pedestrians Can Do To Stay Safe
When walking through a parking lot, pedestrians should always stay alert and avoid using cellular devices. They should also avoid walking in between vehicles and empty parking spaces, which limit their visibility. Lastly, as Marcus suggests, "the safest place for a person to walk is down the middle of the aisle because they're the most visible there."
If you have been struck by a negligent driver while walking through a parking lot in Bryan-College Station, Waco or the surrounding areas, you need an experienced pedestrian accident attorney on your side. The attorneys and staff at Chad Jones Law, P.C. will fight for the justice you deserve.