If you have ever been involved in a car accident, then you are probably already well aware of the necessary steps you need to take immediately following the accident. However, what if the accident doesn’t take place on a public street and instead happens in a parking lot? What protocol and steps do you need to follow in this case?
Determining Fault in a Parking Lot Accident
Many factors go into the mix when trying to determine who is at fault in a parking lot accident. Just like the rules when you are out driving on the main roads, parking lots also adhere to a set of established rules and guidelines regarding the right of way for each vehicle.
To determine who has the right of way in a parking lot, you should first consider the type of lane you are driving in. Parking lots have two types of available lane: the thoroughfare and the feeder lanes. The thoroughfare is the lane that will exit into the street or main road. This type of lane may be wider than the other lane and is one of the main stretches of paved road within a parking lot.
The feeder lane, on the other hand, is much smaller and they tend to begin and end at the thoroughfares. Thoroughfare drivers always have the right of way over those drivers in the feeder lanes.
In the same fashion, if you are pulling out of a parking spot, you must yield to traffic passing through. It is very similar to when you pull out of your driveway. You yield to the street traffic. It doesn’t make sense that you have the right of way in either of these scenarios, right?
Additionally, parking lots also utilize street signs such as yield and stop signs. It is important that these signs are obeyed in a parking lot in the same fashion as on the main road. If it is a stop sign, then make sure you are coming to a complete stop and checking traffic before proceeding. If you fail to obey these traffic signs and the disobedience results in a parking lot accident, then you are the driver at fault.
Common Parking Lot Accidents
One of the most common accidents that occur in a parking lot is when a car is pulling out of their parking spot and hit a car that is passing behind them. Again, the collision will be the fault of the driver pulling out of the parking space.
However, it may not be that clear-cut if the scenario has two cars pulling out of parking spots at the same time and it results in a collision. In this case, it is very likely that the two drivers will end up sharing the fault for the accident.
Other common accidents include hitting a parked car, clipping a car, or hitting a car next to your own when you open the door. In all of these scenarios, the responsible party needs to attempt to contact the owner of the car that has been damaged.
Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents
The best course of avoiding these types of parking lot accidents is to pay attention to your surroundings. There are many factors in play including other drivers and even pedestrians. Cautious driving is the number one way to try to avoid a parking lot accident.
Also, drive at a slow and reduced speed, watch for cars and pedestrians when pulling out of parking spots, and watch for other cars that may be pulling out of their spot at the same time.