Parking lot accidents are a common occurrence across the United States. An estimated 50,000 accidents occur in parking lots and structures each year. While the speed limits in parking areas are typically lower than on roads and highways, the close proximity of vehicles and lack of clear traffic patterns can make parking lots hazardous for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Although the state does not specifically track the exact parking lots where most accidents occur in New Jersey, the more vehicles using them, the more accidents there can be. Why is that the case?

In short, a crowded parking lot is a dangerous parking lot. For instance, one insurance company reports that the number of claims spike on Black Friday and continues to run above average throughout the holiday season. The number of incidents is likely higher than the insurance claims indicate, as many fender-benders often go unreported.

What are some common reasons that accidents occur in parking lots and parking structures?

Why Parking Lot Accidents Are Common in New Jersey

Parking lots in New Jersey can be busy and crowded. They also may lack proper signage, lighting, and traffic control.

The number of accidents in a parking lot may be influenced by many factors. These factors include the size of the lot and the type of vehicles using it. Other factors, such as the time of day and the driving habits of the individuals using the parking lot, can affect the frequency of accidents as well.

Distracted driving

Many drivers are distracted by their cell phones or other devices while navigating through parking lots, which can lead to collisions. It has been reported that 2 out of 3 drivers entering shopping centers are distracted.

Additionally, 1 out of 5 accidents that occur in parking lots are associated with distraction. According to an investigation by CBS News, the leading distraction among drivers in parking lots is the cell phone. Of course, there’s no surprise there.

The CBS News report mentioned that researchers believe that the slower speeds typical in parking lots can create a false sense of security among drivers. However, although the vehicles may not be traveling at highway speeds, even a slow-moving vehicle in a parking lot can make for a deadly collision.

This was the case in a church parking lot in Lakewood, New Jersey. A woman was hit and killed by a Dodge Caravan while she was sitting on a curb. The driver of the van was attempting to make a 3-point turn in the parking lot when he hit 3 pedestrians.

Although traveling at a much slower speed than is common on the road, he did not see the woman his vehicle struck and killed. Two preteen-aged girls were also struck while standing on the curb and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Poor visibility

Tight corners, blind spots, and obstructed views can make it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles and pedestrians, increasing the risk of accidents. As a general rule of thumb, the parking lot should be designed in a way that a driver can see 10 to 15 seconds of the approaching road. This way, he or she can exit a parking lot safely.

When the design of a parking lot limits visibility, the risk of accidents increases.

Reckless driving

Some drivers may ignore speed limits, fail to signal when turning, or engage in other reckless driving behaviors, which can increase the risk of accidents. This was the case in the case of a vehicle crash in Nutley, New Jersey.

Surveillance video of a parking lot showed the driver of a vehicle using the parking lot as a shortcut to reach an adjoining street. The driver cut through the parking lot, at night, at high speed, while not having his headlights on. Another vehicle entered the parking lot and collided with the speeding car.

Poor road design

Poorly designed parking lots with narrow lanes and tight turns can make for a dangerous parking situation. There may also be inadequate signage warning or indicating potential dangers and hazards. Such factors can contribute to accidents by making it difficult for drivers to navigate safely.

At times, a parking lot accident is the result of a combination of the variables mentioned above. An example of such a combination is in forward-angled parking spaces that drivers attempt to back into.

It can be argued that single-lane roadways with angled parking spaces are a poor road design. One might say that it is a form of reckless driving when a driver attempts to back into the angled parking space. Whether we want to blame the road design or the driver, what is certain is that this maneuver results in a dangerous situation. The driver has to navigate tight corners, blind spots, and obstructed views.

The dangers caused by drivers backing into an angled space is the reason the borough of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has enacted a new law. The ordinance requires drivers to park head-on when using an angled space parking spot. Drivers can no longer back up their vehicle into a diagonal parking space at a reverse angle.

Of course, collisions can occur in any parking lot. Even though vehicles may be moving at slower speeds, drivers cannot let their guard down against potential hazards. They must do all they can to take precautions to minimize the risk of accidents.

If you have been injured because someone was negligent toward the hazards and risks in a parking lot, an attorney can help you establish liability with the at-fault party or parties.

How the Lawyers at Judd Shaw Injury Law Can Help You

It is important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution when driving in parking lots to help prevent accidents. Unfortunately, it is all too common for drivers to fail to use sufficient care and attention while driving in a parking lot.

If you have been hurt in a parking lot accident, it is vital to seek medical attention and contact an experienced parking lot accident attorney as soon as possible. With the help of a Judd Shaw Injury Law parking lot attorney, your rights and interests can be protected. You can receive the fair compensation you need.

Contact us at 1-866-909-6894 or complete our online form to get a free case review – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our accident reconstruction lawyers have years of experience fighting for New Jersey and New York victims. With our No Fee Guarantee®, you won’t pay us anything unless you get money for your claim.

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Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.