Over the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot more time shopping than I normally do. With a recent move, I’ve been hitting the Home Depot – Container Store – Bed Bath & Beyond circuit pretty hard.
In addition to doing my part to jump start the economy, I’ve noticed just how dangerous the parking lots in these places can be for adult and child pedestrians alike.
Weird aisle angles, lots of cluttered shopping carts and people in a hurry to get an item on sale– are just a few of the reasons parking lots remain a treacherous area for pedestrians.
Unlike the well marked streets in our towns and cities, parking lots really seem to take a page from the ‘wild west’ where its every person for themselves. Nonetheless, the even without many of the commonly marked street safety signs and signals, drivers must continue to use their common sense and good judgment when driving in parking lots.
Fortunately, most drivers in parking lots have the good judgment to drive slowly as they go about their business. In this sense, many accidents are avoided and impacts are minimized. However, even low speeds pose a real threat to pedestrians — and children in particular.
Over the years, I’ve represented child and adult pedestrians who have been struck by vehicles in parking lots. Some of the injuries have resulted from being knocked down. However, other injuries are far more serious with fractures and crushing injuries that result from being struck and ‘run over’ by a vehicle.
With some basic safety guidelines, we can improve the safety in parking lots:
- Drivers should continue to use traffic signals (turn signals and horns) as if they were on the road
- Park in less congested areas of the lot
- Drive slowly
- Yield to pedestrians
- Park within the confines of the marked space
- Turn on headlights when appropriate
- Adults should carry or hold the hands of their children
- Always look out for cars
- Don’t carry any items that may obstruct your view
- Put shopping carts back in their appropriate areas
- Look and listen for cars
- Never assume a driver sees you
If you involved in an incident in a parking lot, make sure you get necessary medical attention initially. Then, you should contact the local police department and complete a report (if possible at the scene). Finally, if you or your child is injured, it is important to speak with an attorney before you speak to the other drivers insurance carrier.