For some people, a parking lot can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than a highway in which trucks and cars whiz by at 80-plus miles per hour. In part, this is because parking lots may confer a false sense of security. After all, cars move slowly, so how dangerous can a lot be?
The reality is that many injuries suffered by bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers occur in parking lots. In fact, the National Safety Council reports more than 60,000 yearly injuries and at least 500 deaths in garages and parking lots. Read on to find out about the issues with parking lots.
Low speeds, serious injuries
The false sense of security touched on earlier can be risky in more ways than one. For example, suppose someone is rear-ended by another car in a parking lot. He or she immediately notices neck and back pain but figures it could not be too serious due to the other car traveling slowly. However, even low-speed collisions can lead to severe injuries. Injured people should seek medical attention as soon as possible, regardless of the location and circumstances of a crash.
All kinds of hidden dangers co-exist in parking lots, from excited children darting into the path of a car backing up to a bicyclist behind a car backing up. Even distractions such as a driver reading a text can result in the driver forgetting to check his or her surroundings again before pressing the gas pedal. In fact, one of the subtlest dangers of parking lots is stress. That is, when someone has been driving around trying to find an open spot close to a store, he or she may become more likely to experience driver distractions or road rage.
Some parking lots are poorly designed with no designated crosswalks and no sidewalks. These lots can be quite dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.