Parking Lot Safety Guide – The Complete Handbook For Both Drivers And Pedestrians

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    Parking lots may just be the last thing that crosses your mind when you think about the dangers of driving. In reality, these places can be hotspots for accidents, too. This is why parking lot safety awareness is essential to ensure a secure environment for drivers and pedestrians.

    The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that parking areas witness numerous crashes each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. These alarming statistics by the NSC proved the importance of following parking lot safety measures, not to mention practicing parking lot etiquette. However, despite you following the rules, another person’s negligent behavior may still result in unfortunate parking lot accidents.

    Injured by an accident in a parking lot? Arash Law, a leading personal injury law firm in California, can help you. Call us at (888) 488-1391 and discuss your case. Our competent personal injury lawyers are known for their expertise in handling challenging cases and securing fair settlements.

    Parking Lot Safety Tips For Drivers

    Driving in a parking lot may seem simple, but it is actually challenging. Every year, numerous accidents occur in parking lots, especially during holidays. Although most accidents are not severe, drivers and pedestrians can still get injured. It’s also worth noting that there have been several reports of fatalities in parking lots over the years.

    Remember these safety tips when you enter a parking lot or garage to avoid parking lot accidents:

    Obey speed limits.

    The rules in the parking lot are the same as those on the roads. This includes speed limits. Most large parking lots have speed limit signs, but if there isn’t one, keep your speed to a maximum of 15 mph. Parking lots are full of pedestrians, especially children, so you should be extra cautious and drive at a slower speed.

    Driving at a slower speed also helps prevent minor accidents. The most common accident in parking lots is when a car backs out of a parking space and collides with a car driving down the aisle.

    Always use your turn signals.

    It is essential to use your turn signal when parking your car. Other drivers may also be searching for a spot, and the flashing light will alert them to keep a safe distance while you turn into a spot. If your turn signals are not working, use hand signals instead. Although they may be outdated, they can be helpful in an emergency.

    Watch out for pedestrians.

    Everyone knows that pedestrians are at high risk for accidents on the road. Unfortunately, parking lots are not entirely secure. Be cautious of individuals entering and exiting vehicles, and be prepared to stop. Pedestrians are often tricky to spot, especially if they are walking behind cars and trucks.

    Pay attention to the road at all times, and give people walking from their cars enough space and time to cross safely. The best thing to do is to drive slowly, stay alert, make eye contact with pedestrians, and anticipate the unexpected at all times.

    Leave the parking space slowly.

    The majority of parking lot collisions occur when drivers are backing out of a parking area. To prevent hitting other vehicles, people, or shopping carts, check your mirrors and blind spots. If you cannot see anything, move backward slowly and carefully so that other drivers and pedestrians can see that you are trying to reverse. If you notice another car or person, make eye contact or use a gesture to signal that they should stop, allowing you to continue reversing.

    Put down your phone when driving in a parking lot.

    When you are driving in a parking lot, it is tempting to check your phone, fiddle with your GPS, or play with your infotainment system. But remember, distractions can be deadly on the road and in the parking lot. Before you start driving, make sure you have set your route and queued up your music. That way, you can focus on the task at hand: getting to your destination safely. You might not notice a pedestrian suddenly appearing if you are distracted by your phone. Be responsible, and only use your phone when you are safely parked.

    Watch out for shopping carts.

    If you are driving in a store’s parking lot, be cautious of stray shopping carts. They can block your way, particularly when you are reversing out of a parking space. Remember to check your blind spots. These carts can cause dents to your vehicle, which may result in increased insurance premiums.

    Be careful when opening doors.

    Take a moment to look around before entering or exiting your car in a parking lot. Avoid flinging your door open in a crowded area, as it may damage the car parked next to yours. Open the door slowly to prevent any objects from hitting it.

    Leave some extra space between your car and parked vehicles.

    If possible, keep extra space between your vehicle and other parked cars. This is the most effective way to prevent dents. Plus, it will also make it easier for you to load the vehicle. To avoid such situations, ensure that you park in a spot that offers enough room for you to fully open your car door without any risk of causing damage.

    Pay attention to the parking lines.

    Be mindful of the parking lines. Take note of the direction they are pointing. If the angle is pointing away from you, you are going in the wrong direction. If you can easily maneuver your car into the parking spot, then you are reading the lines correctly. On the contrary, if you have to make a wide turn or re-orient yourself to park, it is likely that you entered the parking lane incorrectly.

    Choose an optimal parking spot.

    If possible, find a parking space that is either away from other vehicles or is more spacious to avoid any potential damage to your car from other car doors. If you can, try to reverse into a parking spot when you arrive to increase visibility when you leave. Meanwhile, parking close to your destination or in a spot that allows easy entry and exit can save time and reduce traffic in the parking lot.

    Avoid pulling through.

    Although it may seem convenient to pull through one parking spot into another and park your car facing forward, this parking technique is, unfortunately, a common cause of collisions in parking lots. If you cannot see vehicles approaching from another row, it is best to stay in the spot where you initially entered the lane.

    Follow the signs.

    Even in parking lots, it’s important to follow the signs for everyone’s safety. Pay attention to the posted speed limits, caution signages, and the directional arrows when driving through a parking lot. When looking for a parking spot across different aisles, stop at the end of each aisle, check both ways and then proceed to the next one. Treat the turns like a stop sign, and remember that moving vehicles have the right of way.

    Lock up and hide valuables.

    When you park, be sure to hide your valuable possessions. Always remember to close your windows completely and lock your car doors. This can minimize the chance and potential danger of theft.

    Park in a well-lit area.

    Finding the ideal parking spot is extremely important for safety reasons. Parking in a dimly lit or secluded area can put one’s safety at risk. It is recommended to park in well-lit areas, close to surveillance cameras, or where there is pedestrian traffic. This will make it easy to spot suspicious activity or people around the car. Moreover, parking in a well-lit area can discourage thieves and vandals from targeting the car.

    School Parking Lot Safety Tips

    Learning how to avoid parking lot accidents should start between parents and teens who are new to driving. With these useful suggestions, you and your teenager can easily handle the chaos of high school parking lots and prevent any accidents.

    • Arriving early makes parking safer and easier. The earlier your teen goes to school, the better chance they have of finding a good parking spot and avoiding collisions or vehicle damage.
    • Avoid distractions while driving and parking. Talk to your teen about the importance of focusing on the road and enforcing the graduated licensing regulations that limit the number of passengers for new drivers.
    • Teach your teen basic parking lot maneuvers. Skills that may seem simple to you can be challenging for new drivers. Take the time to provide guidance and help them navigate the busy school parking lot.
    • Practice reverse driving with your teen. Turning the wheel in reverse can be counterintuitive for new drivers, so make sure they understand the proper technique.
    • Enroll your teenager in a comprehensive driver’s education program. While parents play an important role in teaching their teens how to drive, professional instructors are trained to make learning accessible and demonstrate state standards. Additional private lessons or advanced skills classes can further prepare your teen for the high school parking experience and beyond.

    How To Keep Children Safe In Parking Lots

    Case in point: parking lots can also be especially dangerous for young children. Every week, 50 children are injured by being backed over in a parking lot or driveway, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    A recent study focused on the risks children face in parking lots, and the results are shocking. Out of the 124 families observed crossing from their car to a local community center, 67% of children aged 2 to 10 were left unsupervised at some point in the parking lot. Half of the children exited the vehicle prior to the adult. Additionally, when crossing busy parking lot lanes, almost 90% of children were outside of an adult’s arm’s reach.

    So the question is, “How do you walk safely in a parking lot with kids?” Here are some simple recommendations provided by the UAB Youth Safety Lab to ensure the safety of young children in parking lots:

    • Collect your necessary belongings from the car before anyone gets out of the vehicle.
    • Keep your children inside the car until you are ready to walk to the building.
    • Prioritize the safety of young children by ensuring they don’t exit the car first before older children.
    • Always hold your young child’s hand during the entire walk.
    • Use sidewalks and pedestrian paths whenever they are available.
    • Teach children basic pedestrian skills while walking, like looking both ways before crossing the parking area and understanding how reverse lights on vehicles function.
    • Emphasize to children the importance of being aware of their surroundings, including watching out for moving vehicles and reverse lights.
    • Avoid walking distracted. Both children and adults should remain attentive while crossing the pedestrian area.
    • Discuss parking lot rules with children before parking the car, such as “Remember to stay in the car until I open the door” or “Let’s remember to hold hands until we reach inside.”

    Parking Lot Etiquette

    Parking Lot EtiquetteDriving and parking require more than just following the rules in the driver’s education manual you studied for your license. Both drivers and pedestrians have a responsibility to drive defensively and avoid accidents in parking lots. However, the system works best when everyone is polite and attentive. While there may not be an official handbook, the rules for parking lots are generally common sense.

    Whether you’re going to the supermarket or leaving your car at the airport, it is important to follow these unspoken guidelines for everyone’s safety.

    Follow the designated driving directions.

    Parking lots have distinct layouts. Some have two-way isles, while others have one-way. When driving in a parking lot, check the area for arrows indicating the right direction.

    If there are no arrows, consider the location of the parking spaces. It is probably a two-way road if they are perpendicular to the driving aisle. If the stalls are slanted diagonally, take a closer look, as this indicates the flow of traffic. If the parking spaces on both sides of the aisle point inward, it is a one-way road. Always drive in a direction that allows you to park in a stall easily.

    Pull into an empty space while waiting for your passenger.

    Do not pull up to the curb to wait for someone to run a quick errand. Doing so causes unnecessary traffic jams. Instead, pull into an empty space, preferably toward the far end of the lot, to wait for your passenger. They can call you when they are really done.

    Avoid taking up more than one parking spot.

    Unfortunately, some drivers take up multiple parking spots. It is important to be courteous and considerate in the parking lot. Park in the center so cars on both sides can park and drivers can exit safely. Readjusting when needed after you have pulled into a stall is okay. Other drivers will even appreciate it, as they can park without any issues.

    If you have a long vehicle, make sure to pull all the way into the spot. Or, choose a location further away from other cars.

    Park evenly in your chosen spot.

    Ensure that your car is properly aligned and parked evenly between the lines of your chosen spot. By parking correctly, you will find it much easier to enter and exit your car, load your belongings, and avoid any potential accidents with vehicles nearby.

    Avoid tailgating fellow drivers.

    It is important to maintain a safe distance from other drivers while driving. Tailgating can lead to accidents and unnecessary stress. When parking, be sure to give other drivers enough space to maneuver in and out of spots. If you are unsure of what a safe distance is, leave enough room for another car between you and the one in front of you.

    Park in a way that others can see your parked car.

    For motorcycles and small cars, line up your vehicle’s back bumper with the bumpers of the cars around you. This will prevent the disappointment of thinking there is an open space only to find a tiny car squeezed in. More importantly, parking where other drivers can see your car helps avoid accidental damage from a distracted or inattentive driver who does not immediately notice your car.

    Leave enough space for movement when you park.

    It may be tempting to squeeze your car into a small or makeshift parking spot. But think about how much space you and the other driver will need to open doors and trunks comfortably when loading or unloading things. Leaving enough room ensures that no one’s car will get dented or scratched. Find a different parking spot if you feel there is not enough room to move around after parking.

    Park in a properly allocated spot.

    Always make sure to park in a designated spot appropriate for you. Parking lots are designed to accommodate different types of drivers, such as disabled drivers, electric vehicle owners, and employees. By following the rules and being patient, you can find a suitable spot. Parking correctly not only shows respect to other drivers but also ensures everyone’s safety and helps you avoid expensive fines.

    Check your mirrors.

    It is important to always check your mirrors and rear windows before leaving a parking spot. Many accidents occur when drivers assume that a lane or aisle is clear without looking behind them. To ensure everyone’s safety in a parking lot, make it a habit to check your mirrors and blind spots.

    Always keep your hands on your car.

    Make sure to always keep your hands on your car. It can be really irritating to hear a car alarm going off nonstop, especially when it is triggered by a simple touch. To avoid causing any damage to someone else’s car and prevent annoying your fellow drivers with loud alarms, be mindful of your hands, shopping carts, and car doors when you are in a parking lot.

    Don’t follow strangers as they walk to their car.

    Following a pedestrian as they walk to their parked vehicle is not acceptable, despite the satisfaction of finding a spot. This behavior makes strangers feel uneasy. Not to mention, lurking around also creates a risk of distracted driving that could result in an accident.

    Position your car in the middle of the parking spot.

    Avoid pulling too far forward when parking your car. Instead, aim to park in the middle of the spot to prevent occupying two spots. If there are no barriers, make sure to park your car at a suitable distance from the dividing line between parking spaces.

    Pay attention to parking regulations.

    Before you leave your car, make sure to review all the restrictions in the parking lot. Take the time to read and understand any signs you can see. Just because an area in a parking lot is empty does not mean it is available for parking. It could be reserved for safety measures, street cleaning, or passenger drop-off. Always be mindful of the rules to avoid getting a ticket or having your car towed.

    No reserving by having someone stand on the parking spot.

    Parking spots cannot be reserved by placing something or someone other than your vehicle on the spot. If your car is not there, you cannot claim a spot. Instead, be patient and wait for an available space or park in a nearby area.

    Do not park in front of a fire hydrant or any safety fixture.

    Parking in front of a fire hydrant or any safety fixture in a parking lot is the quickest way to get your car towed. Always double-check if your spot is a legitimate parking space before you leave your car. If you are unsure, it is better to be safe and find another place to park. By doing so, you could make it easier for a firefighter to save lives.

    Parking Lot Safety Tips For Pedestrians

    Parking Lot Safety Tips For PedestriansIt is important to be cautious, as pedestrians face various risks in a crowded parking lot. Even a minor mistake by a distracted driver can put your safety at risk.

    Are you wondering how to walk safely in a parking lot? Follow these handy tips to ensure your safety:

    Use crosswalks.

    Using the designated pedestrian areas in a parking lot can reduce the risk of accidents. Drivers are not anticipating pedestrians in the main driving lane or empty parking spaces. Walking in these areas increases the likelihood of catching a driver off guard. It is safer to stick to crosswalks where drivers are more likely to see you.

    Put your phone away.

    It is important to stay alert when walking in a parking lot, just like when driving. Avoid using your phone or wearing headphones, and focus on your surroundings. Save phone calls and music for when you are in a safe area. By reducing distractions, you can better observe potential hazards in the parking facility.

    Stay visible.

    Pedestrian accidents in parking lots often happen when drivers fail to notice people walking. Make yourself more visible to drivers to ensure your safety while walking across a parking lot. Try wearing brightly colored clothing and avoid dark colors, especially when walking through poorly lit parking garages. Additionally, staying in well-lit parking lot areas can also help increase your visibility to drivers.

    Wear appropriate footwear to avoid tripping or slipping.

    Walking on slippery surfaces like ice, loose gravel, or water puddles and slipping can make you invisible to most drivers. Wearing appropriate shoes can help you maintain your balance and prevent falls while walking in the parking lot. Keep an extra pair of comfortable shoes with good grip in your car.

    Walk quickly and safely.

    When you are not in your car, keep your distance from other vehicles but walk safely. Be alert for drivers who may be distracted while searching for a parking spot, and don’t delay when a driver signals you to cross their path. Remember to keep a safe distance from both parked and moving vehicles to avoid triggering an alarm or getting hit.

    Look both ways.

    Always check both directions before crossing a road as a pedestrian. Numerous parking lots lack stop signs or crosswalks at intersections, so you must be extremely cautious of approaching vehicles while walking through the lot.

    Common Causes Of Parking Lot Accidents

    Parking lot crashes happen more frequently than you think. Why is that the case? Well, there are several factors, including:

    • Distracted driving – Using a phone to text or call someone or doing personal grooming while driving in a parking lot are only a couple of examples of driving distractions. Such activities take away drivers’ focus from driving, causing injuries to others.

      According to an NSC survey, most drivers (66%) admitted to making phone calls while driving through parking lots. The survey also revealed that a significant number of drivers would program GPS systems (63%), text (56%), use social media (52%), send or receive emails (50%), and even take photos or watch videos (49%) while driving.

    • Confusion – Some people are confused about the right-of-way rule in parking lots. Is it the person in the traffic lane or the person backing out? This, consequently, can lead to sudden accidents.
    • Poor visibility – In crowded parking lots, many drivers park their cars facing forward, which means they must reverse when leaving. However, when reversing in a busy parking lot, it can be challenging to see clearly due to other cars parked there.
    • Unexpected events – Parking lots can often be quite chaotic. Occasionally, you may come across an empty spot taken up by a stray shopping cart, or a child suddenly runs in front of your car. You may need to brake, reverse, or take an unplanned action for various reasons. When you add in the distractions mentioned earlier, these unforeseen events can result in accidents.
    • Fast driving – Adding speed to distracted driving in parking lots can be dangerous. Even a slow speed of 20 miles per hour can cause severe problems with pedestrians and cars potentially pulling out in front of you.

    Lower your chances of getting into a parking lot car accident by minimizing distractions, driving slowly, and being ready for unexpected situations. Note that it is crucial to be prepared and entirely focused while driving.

    Parking Laws And Rules

    Having a good grasp of parking laws ensures a hassle-free and safe parking experience. These regulations act as the traffic signals for parking lots, guiding drivers to maintain order and fairness. Knowing these rules can prevent penalties and promote a safe parking environment in a busy city or a quiet neighborhood.

    Important Terms To Know To Ensure A Safe Parking Experience
    • Parking spot or parking space – This is the designated area where you can park your car.
    • Parking or feeder lanes – This refers to the lane between rows of parked cars or parking spaces leading to thoroughfare lanes.
    • Main lane – Also known as the thoroughfare lane or through lane, this is the primary lane that runs through or around the parking area. It usually connects to the main road or access road for entering the parking lot.
    Curb Striping And Pavement Markings

    Curb Striping And Pavement Markings

    Different colored curbs have specific meanings for parking. Here’s what each colored curb represents:

    • Green – Vehicles are allowed to park. However, a time limit is painted on the curb or posted on signs.
    • White – Vehicles can only stop briefly to pick up or drop off passengers. And drivers should always stay inside the car.
    • Yellow – Vehicles can load or unload passengers and cargo within the specified time limit. If driving a vehicle for non-commercial purposes, drivers should stay within the vehicle.
    • Red – Stopping, parking, or standing is prohibited. However, buses can stop at a red curb with a designated zone.
    • Blue – This is reserved parking for disabled individuals or those accompanying them. Drivers can only park here if they have a special license plate or placard for disabled veterans or persons.

    Disabled individuals with a placard can use parking spaces anytime, regardless of the posted time limit. Remember, misusing a disabled person’s license plate can lead to the loss of parking privileges and may result in a fine of up to $1000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.

    Illegal Parking

    What if there is no color code on a curb you want to park on? This is when it is crucial to know where it is illegal to park in California.

    Here are some places that are illegal to park in, per the California DMV, particularly in Section 6 of the California Driver’s Handbook:

    • Where there is a “No Parking” sign
    • In front of a driveway
    • On a sidewalk or if you are partially blocking a sidewalk
    • On a marked or unmarked crosswalk
    • Within three feet of a sidewalk ramp dedicated to disabled persons
    • In front of or on a curb that provides wheelchair access to a sidewalk
    • Double parking or when all the parking spaces are already taken
    • In the diagonal lines or the crosshatched area next to the parking space for disabled persons
    • In a space designated for fueling zero-emission vehicles, unless you are driving a zero-emission vehicle
    • Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or fire station driveway
    • Between a safety zone and a curb
    • In a tunnel or on a bridge, unless permitted by signs
    • On the wrong side of the street or a freeway, except when in an emergency, when a law enforcement officer requires a stop, or where a stop is expressly permitted

    If you need to stop on a freeway, park entirely off the pavement and stay inside your vehicle with the doors locked until help arrives. Any vehicle that remains stopped, parked, or unattended on a freeway for more than four hours may be towed away.

    Parking Lot Right Of Way

    Navigating a parking lot is similar to driving through a minor traffic system. Knowing the correct right-of-way is vital for a smooth flow. Like roads, parking lots have rules to avoid confusion and ensure safety.

    In crowded parking lots with many pedestrians and cars, drivers can get confused about who has the right to go first. The general rule is that the driver already in the traffic flow has the right of way. Simply put, the car in the central lane has the right to go before vehicles pull out of a parking space or feeder lane. However, vehicles on feeder lanes have the right to go before other vehicles back out of a parking spot.

    Here are some scenarios to help you drive seamlessly and safely through a parking lot.

    When exiting a parking space

    Before leaving a parking space, always check for oncoming cars. Only pull out of the area when the coast is clear. According to Safe Motorist, you should give way to other drivers when entering moving traffic after parking. Occasionally, a driver in the feeder lane may let you go first. If that happens, show gratitude and reverse cautiously. You can return the favor by offering them your now-empty parking spot.

    When driving in a parking lane

    Parked cars should always check for oncoming vehicles before backing out of a parking lane. However, there are instances when drivers may not be attentive or have their view blocked by other parked cars. Being prepared to stop if a car unexpectedly enters the parking lane is crucial. It is better to give way rather than face the hassle of a car collision.

    When entering uncontrolled intersections

    As a general rule of traffic, the first car that arrives has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at an intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. However, if turning left, the driver should give way to the oncoming traffic regardless if they arrived first.

    Moreover, drivers should give way to cars and pedestrians already in or about to enter the intersection. If two cars are both turning left, they can turn without giving way by crossing in front of each other.

    When entering the through lane

    Remember, drivers in the main lanes of the parking lot usually have the right of way. If you want to exit a parking lane and enter a through lane, you should wait until it is safe.

    When there are signs or signals

    Drivers should always obey all traffic signs and signals on roadways and parking lots. They are placed in such places to ensure safe traffic flow and protect pedestrians.

    Parking Lot Speed Limit

    Typically, parking lots will have speed limit signs. If you see any speed limit signage, follow them to avoid any tickets and keep everyone safe. However, if you do not notice any posted speed limits, the National Motorists Association recommends always staying below 15 miles per hour.

    There are chances that pedestrians will cross your path or that a car will back out in front of you. To prevent accidents in parking lots, driving slowly is highly recommended. By driving slowly, you can react quickly if a pedestrian or a car unexpectedly crosses your path. The slower you drive, the quicker you can stop if needed.

    All states have regulated speed limits for parking lots. The general parking lot speed limit in California is 15 miles per hour. To avoid sudden accidents, it is best to follow this rule.

    Parking Lot Accident Statistics

    Parking lot accidents are more common than one might think, contributing significantly to overall traffic incidents. Here are some facts and statistics based on data collected by the NSC, revealing the severity of parking lot accidents:

    • 20%, or one in five, of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots.
    • Every year, parking lots cause injuries to over 60,000 people.
    • More than 500 individuals die every year in parking lots and garages.
    • Tragically, 9% of pedestrian fatalities in parking lots are due to backup accidents.
    • Non-traffic areas, such as parking lots, account for 20% of child fatalities from traffic.
    • During the holiday shopping season, the number of parking lot accidents increases.

    Effect Of Parking Lot Layouts On Accident Rates

    The parking lot or garage layout can also determine how safe or risky that facility is.


    Accidents can result from poorly designed or confusing traffic lanes. Here are some examples of poor designs that can affect parking lot situations:

    • Crowded or congested areas with insufficient space for vehicles to park, turn, or move around
    • Complicated and confusing layouts in parking lots or garages
    • Unclear or conflicting rules for vehicles and pedestrians
    • Areas where drivers or pedestrians cannot see properly
    • Driveways, walkways, or parking garage entrances that are poorly or dangerously positioned
    • A lack of designated paths or crosswalks for pedestrians

    Insufficient lighting can cause poor visibility, increasing the chances of pedestrian accidents and collisions, particularly in low-light situations. To safely navigate parking lots and garages, drivers and pedestrians need a specific amount of light, particularly at night, during bad weather, or when visibility is limited.

    Parking areas and garages might not have proper lighting or functional light systems. This lack of illumination can hinder drivers and pedestrians from perceiving their surroundings and reacting safely.

    Insufficient or dim lighting in parking facilities can also pose a significant risk. Parking areas must have a specific amount of light to illuminate a space of about 15 to 20 feet sufficiently. Without proper lighting, accidents occurring in parking lots and garages increase.

    Pedestrian Walkways

    Pedestrian walkways separate foot traffic from vehicles, reducing the risk of pedestrian accidents. Poorly marked or absent walkways can lead to accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles.

    Parking Space Size

    The design and size of parking spaces affect how easily drivers can maneuver into and out of spots. Narrow spaces can contribute to fender benders and collisions.

    Signage and Markings

    Signage and MarkingsClear and visible traffic signs and markings enhance communication between drivers and pedestrians, reducing confusion and the risk of accidents. Signs in parking lots, such as speed limits, stop signs, loading zones, and accessible parking signs, are especially important for keeping traffic moving safely and efficiently.

    If these signs are missing, broken, or hard to understand, it can confuse drivers and pedestrians. This also increases the chances of drivers or pedestrians ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Additionally, it may be harder for anyone in that parking lot to stay safe and minimize the risk of accidents.


    Not all parking spots in parking facilities may meet the standards regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA has specific regulations regarding the size and layout of parking spaces for cars and vans. These regulations also include the provision of an access aisle, minimal slopes in all directions, and a slip-resistant surface.

    In a nutshell, having well-designed accessible features in parking areas helps to enhance the safety of individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, inadequate accessibility can create unsafe conditions for drivers and pedestrians.

    Entrances and Exits

    Efficiently planned entry and exit points aid in controlling traffic flow, reducing congestion, and minimizing the chances of accidents. Inadequately designed access points, on the contrary, can cause traffic jams and raise the chances of collisions.

    Landscaping and Islands

    Well-planned landscaping and islands can improve the overall layout, but they can block visibility and lead to accidents if they are not positioned correctly. By strategically placing these elements, we can ensure they enhance safety instead of hindering it.

    Curbs and Wheel Stop

    Curbs and wheel stops are crucial in marking parking spaces and preventing vehicles from encroaching onto walkways. This helps to minimize the chances of accidents and ensures overall safety. However, if curbs are absent or not properly placed, it can result in disorganized parking and higher accident rates.

    Stormwater Management

    Effective stormwater management helps prevent slippery surfaces and flooding, reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls, especially in unfavorable weather conditions. Insufficient drainage, on the other hand, can lead to dangerous situations and contribute to accidents.

    Security Measures

    Security measures such as surveillance cameras can indirectly contribute to safety by deterring criminal activities. Without them, there may be an increase in theft, vandalism, or other criminal incidents in parking lots.

    Loading Zones

    Designated loading areas assist in organizing commercial operations, lessening traffic, and potential loading and unloading mishaps. The absence of such areas can result in disorderly situations and heightened accident risks.

    Most Common Types Of Accidents In Parking Lots

    Parking lots are hotspots for various types of accidents and dangers, contributing to a significant portion of overall traffic incidents. Here are some of the most common types of accidents that happen in parking lots:

    Collisions Between Moving Vehicles

    One common type of parking lot accident involves collisions between moving vehicles. This happens when drivers navigate the lot, sometimes facing limited visibility or distractions.

    Collisions With Parked Cars

    Collisions with parked cars are also a regular incident in parking lots. Drivers may misinterpret the distance or overlook obstacles, causing unintended collisions with parked vehicles.

    Backing Collisions

    When drivers fail to notice an approaching vehicle or pedestrian while reversing, the chances of backing-up collisions increase. These accidents often happen due to a brief lack of attention, highlighting the need for thorough checks before reversing to ensure safety in crowded parking areas.

    Shopping Cart Accidents

    Surprisingly, shopping carts and trolleys can cause accidents in busy parking lots. They can cause accidents by rolling into cars or if drivers fail to notice them while maneuvering. As such, drivers must stay alert and watch out for these potential obstacles to avoid unnecessary accidents.

    T-Bone Accidents

    T-bone collisions, where the front of one car hits the side of another, commonly occur when a vehicle unexpectedly emerges from a parking spot. These collisions underscore the need for cautious navigation and awareness, especially in areas with obscured sightlines or high congestion.

    Fender Benders

    Misjudging distances while parking can lead to fender benders and minor collisions. Though minor, these incidents emphasize the importance of precision in tight parking spaces and remind drivers to be extra cautious.

    Head-On Collisions

    Although uncommon, head-on collisions can sometimes happen in parking lots with confusing traffic flow or insufficient signage. To avoid unexpected head-on collisions between vehicles, parking lots and traffic patterns should be well-designed and marked.

    Pedestrian Accidents

    Pedestrians are at risk in parking lots when drivers fail to yield or notice them. As such, drivers and pedestrians should be vigilant and follow designated walkways for safety.

    Multiple Vehicle Chain Reactions

    One collision can lead to more accidents, causing a chain reaction of multiple vehicle crashes. This shows how crucial it is to respond quickly and carefully to prevent further collisions and reduce the impact on parking lot safety.

    Slips, Trips, And Falls

    In parking lots, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and slippery conditions can cause pedestrian slips, trips, and falls. These incidents show that property management must address environmental factors that cause pedestrian accidents to improve safety.


    Hit-and-run incidents, where a driver causes damage to another vehicle and flees without sharing information, add to the difficulties of ensuring parking lot safety. Such incidents highlight the significance of acting responsibly and ethically, reminding drivers to fulfill their obligations in case of an accident.

    Other Parking Lot Dangers

    Door Dings And Minor Scrapes

    Parking lots are common places for minor collisions like door dings and scrapes. These accidents usually happen when drivers open their car doors without realizing that there are other vehicles nearby.

    Vehicle Theft Or Break-Ins Due To Negligent Security

    Vehicle thefts and break-ins are significant concerns in parking lots, even though they are not typical accidents. These incidents stress the importance of implementing thorough security measures in parking facilities to protect vehicles and occupants from criminal activities.

    Disputes Over Parking Spaces

    It is typical for two vehicles to crash when competing for a single parking spot. Liability in these cases is determined by factors like who had the right-of-way, where the impact occurred, and which direction the cars were turning.

    Common Injuries Sustained In Parking Lot Accidents

    Pedestrians are often the victims of parking lot accidents. Their risk of sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries is higher since they were outside of a vehicle during the collision. Accidents occurring at high speeds or involving pedestrians increase the likelihood of severe injuries.

    Pedestrians are more vulnerable than those in cars. As such, they can sometimes sustain severe injuries in parking lot accidents.

    • Back Injuries – A back injury can significantly affect a person’s mobility and daily activities. They can cause intense pain and drastically change one’s life.
    • Neck Injuries – Parking lot accidents often result in neck injuries such as whiplash and strains. These injuries may not show symptoms immediately, but they can be incredibly painful and challenging.
    • Head Injuries – Individuals involved in a parking lot accident face a higher chance of getting head injuries. This is especially true when they are hit by vehicles and thrown into walls or the ground. The impact of their head hitting a vehicle or a hard surface can lead to a traumatic brain injury, causing severe consequences like hearing or vision loss.
    • Scrapes And Bruises – Scrapes and bruises are common injuries from broken glass or vehicle impact. If a person is hit at a high speed, they may slide across the concrete and suffer scrapes and bruises. These injuries can be painful and may take several days or even weeks to heal fully.
    • Broken Bones – Parking lot accident victims are more likely to suffer broken bones. Broken arms, legs, and ribs can cause excruciating pain and have long-term effects on victims. While some breaks may be minor, others can be so severe that amputation is necessary to save the victim’s life.
    • Internal Injuries – People hit by vehicles in parking lots are more likely to suffer from internal injuries. Besides internal bleeding, victims could also sustain injuries to their hearts, lungs, kidneys, spleens, and even their bowels. Such injuries need immediate medical attention, as they are severe and even fatal if not treated right away.

    Liability For Accidents In Parking Areas

    Car accidents can occur not only on highways with fast speeds and heavy traffic but also in parking lots. Even though drivers may be driving slower and there may be fewer cars, reckless behavior can still lead to accidents. Multiple parties may be accountable for the damages if you have been injured in a parking lot car accident.

    Driver Liability

    In most parking lot accidents, another driver is usually liable for the damages. Car accidents in parking lots can occur when drivers back out of spaces without checking, drive too quickly, collide with other cars while turning, drive over barriers, or go against traffic flow.

    Your claim against the other drivers will follow a similar process as in any other car accident case. It is also possible that the car insurance company may strongly oppose your claim if it occurred in a parking lot. However, many parking lots have surveillance systems that can provide evidence in the event of a collision.

    Property Owner Liability

    In car accident cases, the driver is usually responsible, but third-party liability is possible. Property owners are more frequently held accountable for accidents in parking lots than for collisions on public roads.

    Nevertheless, the property owner is not automatically responsible for damages if a collision happens in a parking lot. You must establish that the property owner’s negligence caused the accident.

    Parking lot accidents can occur due to various conditions that may indicate the property owner’s negligence. These conditions include inadequate lighting, uneven roads, slippery surfaces, insufficient signage, unclear parking lot lines, and negligent valet staff.

    You might be eligible for extra compensation beyond what your insurance company will pay if a property owner is to be blamed for the incident. When a property owner is careless and causes a car accident, it is treated as a premises liability case, which is similar to a personal injury case rather than a regular insurance claim.

    What Should I Do If I Was Hit While In A Vehicle In A Parking Lot?

    Despite being cautious, accidents can happen anywhere, even in parking lots. Should you find yourself injured in a parking lot accident, here are the crucial steps you need to take:

    1. Check yourself and other parties for injuries, and call 911

      If you can move, get to a safe place and ensure the other people involved are okay. Then, call 911 immediately if there are any injuries.

    2. Call the police

      Police do not usually respond to parking lot accidents as parking spaces are often privately owned, except, of course, when there are reported injuries, and the incident blocks the traffic. If the police show up at the scene, they will check for injuries and write accident reports.

      Police reports, serving as written documentation of the incident, can help determine liability. As such, it is always advisable to get a police report, no matter how minor the accident may seem.

    3. Gather information relevant to the accident

      While waiting for the police to arrive, gather essential details from the other involved parties. You should collect their full name, address, contact numbers, insurance details, and vehicle license plate number. Ensure you also get the contact information of any witnesses at the scene.

    4. Document the incident

      In addition to gathering information, document the accident scene. Doing so will come in handy when filing a personal injury claim. You can use your phone’s camera to take photos of the following:

      • Any damages to the vehicles involved
      • How the cars are parked in the parking spaces, if applicable
      • Skid marks
      • Broken glasses
      • Any other property damage
    5. Report the parking lot incident to your insurer

      If the accident is minor and no one is hurt, you may be tempted not to notify your insurance company. However, not informing your insurer is not a good idea. Say the driver finds damage to their car later or they have an injury (which is not discovered right away). They may file a claim unexpectedly. It is better to risk a slight rate increase now rather than the possibility of being denied financial assistance from your insurer later.

    Were you hit while backing out of a parking space? Or did you rear-end a car? Regardless of who is at fault, you should follow proper accident reporting procedures and document the incident.

    What Should I Do If I Am Hit As A Pedestrian In A Parking Lot?

    Parking lots, albeit intended only for vehicle parking, can be dangerous places, too. Texting and other forms of distraction are far more likely to cause us to take our hands off the wheel and possibly cause an accident, even at low speeds.

    Being on the receiving end of a car accident is indeed traumatizing. Here’s what you should do if a car hits you in a parking lot:

    1. Notify the driver immediately so they can stop their vehicle. Then, move out of the way of other vehicles as quickly and safely as possible.
    2. Find a safe place nearby and call 911 to report the accident and any injuries. If you are seriously injured, ask for an ambulance.
    3. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties. If the driver tries to flee, try to capture their photo, vehicle, and license plate as identification.
    4. Take pictures of your injuries. If you can, take photos of any debris, landmarks, or evidence related to the accident scene. If you are severely injured, stay in your position until emergency medical services arrive to avoid worsening your injuries.
    5. Get the contact information of any witnesses present at the scene.
    6. When the police arrive, clearly and accurately describe the accident. Avoid speculating on fault and refrain from admitting fault or describing yourself as careless. Answer all questions honestly.
    7. If EMS evaluates you and advises hospital transport, do not refuse. If the medics do not recommend immediate hospitalization, remember any new pain you may be experiencing. If the pain is severe, head straight to the emergency room. Visit an urgent care physician or your regular care provider for minor pain.
    8. Write a personal report of the accident and take photos of any injuries you may have in the coming days. Mention in your report the pain and suffering you have experienced as well.
    9. Contact a skilled pedestrian accident attorney before speaking with insurance companies. The attorney will assist you in calculating your damages and pursuing reimbursement.

    Damages That Parking Lot Accident Victims Can Collect

    Parking lot pedestrian accidents can result in severe injuries, from minor bumps and bruises to permanent paralysis or even death. These injuries often leave victims concerned about their finances while recovering. If another party is responsible for the accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages.

    Our competent pedestrian accident lawyers will strive to recover damages on your behalf. These recoverable damages may include the following:

    • Medical expenses – These expenses include ambulance trips, hospital stays, medication, therapy sessions, and more. Additionally, you can receive compensation for long-term medical expenses, such as wheelchairs and in-home care.
    • Lost wages – Pedestrian parking lot injuries can cause severe harm, leading to missed work and lost wages. Lost wage damages include time away from work due to various reasons. If you cannot work due to your injuries or missed work for specialist or therapy appointments, Arash Law’s accident attorneys will fight for these damages on your behalf.
    • Loss of earning capacity – If your wounds are severe, you may have to quit your job or switch careers, resulting in lost earning capacity. Thankfully, victims can recover compensation for this loss.
    • Pain and suffering – You are eligible to receive compensation for any mental or physical suffering you go through.

    Injured In A Parking Lot Accident? Contact Arash Law’s Personal Injury Lawyers Today!

    If you or a loved one ever find yourselves involved in a parking lot accident, we encourage you to get in touch with Arash Law. Our accident lawyers, under the direction of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., have decades of experience fighting for victims and resolving various personal injury cases.

    Our personal injury law lawyers have successfully recovered over $500 Million in settlements and compensation for victims all over California. When dealing with the aftermath of an accident, you do not have to be alone. Dial (888) 488-1391 now. Our attorneys offer free consultations and reliable legal advice.

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    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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