In 2016, horrifying video captured the moment when Maria Cruz Gonzales-Cortes was struck by a car in a parking lot while pushing her 15-month-old baby in a stroller. Her baby lived, but 24-year-old Maria died. In Brooklyn in July of 2018, a 4-year-old was struck and killed in a laundromat parking lot while her mother tied her shoe. A driver leaving the parking lot drove over her and then fled the scene. The little girl’s mother was also injured, but recovered.
Tragic parking lot accidents are much more common than you’d think. According to the National Safety Council, at least 60,000 people are injured and 500 people die in parking lot accidents every year. In fact, according to the National Highway Safety Transportation Board, of the 1,132 children killed in car accidents in 2015, 21% of them were pedestrians struck by a car.
What Causes Parking Lot Accidents?
Distracted driving causes the majority of parking lot accidents every year. The National Safety Council finds that as many as 2/3 of drivers may be preoccupied while driving in parking lots. Many drivers use their phones while driving through parking lots, with the incorrect perception that the lower driving speed makes them safe from accidents.
How Can You Protect Yourself in a Parking Lot?
To avoid accidents in a parking lot, use common sense and put your phone down. It is never safe to drive – even in a parking lot – while you text, enter map directions or place a phone call. To protect yourself and others in parking lots, you can also:
- Slow down and be cautious.
- Correctly set your side mirrors and consider adding blind spot mirrors.
- Use technology like rear view cameras, vehicle cross traffic alerts systems or parking assist systems.
- Park as far away from other cars as possible.
- Look for pull through spots so that you won’t need to back up when you leave.
- Be careful of wayward carts and car doors on windy days.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need assistance, we may be able to help. Call us at (256) 533-5000 for a free legal consultation.