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Navigating Crowded Parking Lots This Holiday Season

By Renee Nordstrand on November 25, 2017

pexels-photo-312081Parking lots are dangerous places. An estimated one in five motor vehicle accidents will take place in a parking lot. The combination of drivers and pedestrians in close quarters can be a serious hazard. During the holidays, the large crowds and higher likelihood of stressed-out people rushing about makes for a particularly frightful situation.

While drivers in Southern California don’t have to deal with the snow and ice faced by drivers in the Midwest, there are still plenty of risks for pedestrians and those behind the wheel. Be sure to go slowly through parking lots, give pedestrians the right of way, and stay focused on controlling your car.

Rules for Drivers: Protect Pedestrians

It is very important, as a driver, to remember that you control more than a thousand pounds of metal, plastic, and glass. Pedestrians in parking lots have no protection from your vehicle, and a collision even at low speeds can be extremely dangerous for them. Pedestrian injuries may include minor scrapes and cuts, broken bones, and injuries to the head and neck. A moment’s lapse in attention can result in life-long pain, suffering, and disability for a pedestrian.

Slow down, be patient, and let pedestrians go first.

Rules for Drivers: Watch Out for Other Cars

Other vehicles in a parking lot can also cause collisions and injuries. Holiday shopping is stressful and requires a great deal of mental attention, which often leaves the shopper exhausted and distracted. Exhausted drivers are a potential danger to others, since they are more likely to make mistakes and not pay attention to conditions around them.

It is vital to watch what others are doing and drive defensively so that you can respond to protect yourself.

Black Friday Is Especially Risky

Although parking lots can be accident-prone throughout much of the holiday season, including the latter half of November and most of December, Black Friday is particularly dangerous. The day after Thanksgiving has long been designated for Christmas shopping, since many people have the day off. Sales in the last few decades have only reinforced this behavior.

The two greatest dangers for parking lots on Black Friday are the sheer numbers of people and how tired many of them are. It is arguably the busiest shopping day of the year, so parking lots are crowded with many more vehicles and pedestrians, many of whom woke up early or have been up most of the night shopping. Take care, and when in doubt, slow down and look three times before maneuvering your car.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call NordstrandBlack PC today at (805) 962-2022.

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