The holiday shopping season on Long Island has officially begun, and parking lots are already becoming more dangerous. Pedestrian accidents and vehicle accidents occur frequently when shopping rates surge. Between crowds of people and swarms of cars, it only takes a minor error for a catastrophe to occur.
Millions of shoppers will be racing around in the next few weeks to snag everything on their lists. Despite the holiday cheer in the air, Long Islanders must be mindful of the dangers. A host of post-pandemic shopping factors this season, in addition to the annual madness, could increase parking lot accidents even further. Know the risks before you shop to help stay safe this December.
Parking Lot Accidents Skyrocket Over the Holiday
The National Safety Council (N.S.C.) reports that one in every five car accidents nationwide occurs in a parking lot, with higher rates during the holidays. Hundreds of people are killed, and thousands are injured in these accidents every year. Most crashes are caused by distractions, aggressive driving habits, and other preventable measures.
Distractions are one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents across the country, especially when it comes to parking lot crashes. A distraction includes any activity or behavior that takes a driver’s attention from the road. Some may be more common than others, but all can result in severe and fatal accidents.
In a volunteer distracted driving poll conducted by the N.S.C., drivers admitted to conducting the following distracted driving behaviors upon entering and leaving a parking lot:
- Programming GPS (63%);
- Sending a text (56%);
- Scrolling social media (52%);
- Emailing (50%); and
- Taking photos or videos (49%).
Other distractions listed as major contributors to parking lot accidents included personal grooming, online shopping, talking to passengers, and rearranging items in the vehicle.
Holiday shoppers can be ruthless. Parking spaces are often impossible to come by during peak shopping hours, and some motorists will do anything to get an open spot. Speeding, fast accelerations, hard braking, and drivers operating without turn signals are just a few of the behaviors that lead to tragic parking lot accidents. Other motorists can experience dangerous road rage episodes that can lead to catastrophic consequences in crowded environments.
Pandemic-Related Shopping Dangers
The stress of holiday shopping in 2021 is unlike anything Americans have experienced before. Last year, shoppers were wary about in-person purchases, still adhering to stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But with vaccination rates rising and people eager to celebrate the season, millions more shoppers are expected to visit the stores.
In addition to the typical retail madness, several other factors will make this shopping season a little more chaotic than usual. Supply chain woes have complicated the process of finding many popular products, creating a larger crowd of daily shoppers hunting for products. According to The New York Times, supply chain operations have also affected product pricing, resulting in shoppers rushing to grab gifts at the risk of paying exorbitant amounts closer to Christmas.
Despite more people being comfortable with in-person shopping, most retailers will still adhere to pre-pandemic policies this season. This means reduced store hours, long lines due to social distancing, and limited capacities. Crowded parking lots full of impatient drivers waiting their turn is a recipe for disaster. There is no predicting how many people will be waiting outside of stores but planning ahead could reduce your risk of sustaining injuries on your trip.
How To Stay Safe In Holiday Parking Lots
The best way to avoid parking lot accidents this season is to shop online whenever possible. Sure, shipping delays are possible, but risking your life or those of your loved ones to purchase a gift in person isn’t worth the risk.
If you still want to brave the holiday shopping scene, have a plan. Know which stores you want to visit and route a path before arriving. Take public transit and arrange carpooling when possible to reduce the need to park. When you do need to drive, follow these simple steps to help reduce accidents:
- Obey all traffic lanes, stop signs, and no-parking notifications;
- Stay in lanes;
- Never cross across lots;
- Stay alert to pedestrians, strollers, and carts;
- Keep speeds slow;
- Use turn signals;
- Conduct 360-degree walk around your vehicle before backing out;
- Don’t rely solely on your review camera to avoid hazards; and
- Pull through to park when possible and safe.
Long Island Parking Lot Accident Lawyers
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber have over 30 years of experience representing accident victims on Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process, using our experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a parking lot crash, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1.516.294.2666, or schedule an appointment online at any time. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.