Cars drive and people walk in the same space most of the time, increasing the potential for dangerous, even deadly pedestrian accidents.
A parking lot is a place where pedestrians and vehicles mix more freely than anywhere else. Here are some tips for drivers and pedestrians to avoid accidents in this mixing place.
First, be aware of your role. People switching from driver to pedestrian sometimes forget to change their behaviors and awareness. Always make sure your behavior matches your role.
If you are a pedestrian, follow these tips:
- Don’t talk, text, or browse with your smartphone while walking
- Don’t count on a crosswalk to protect you. Look left-right-left before stepping off the curb
- Before stepping out of a parking spot, stop at the end of the car and look left-right-left
- Don’t assume you’ve been seen—always make eye contact with drivers whenever possible.
- Watch for back-up lights. Never walk behind a car with driver until you are sure they see you.
If you are a driver, follow these tips:
- Drive at the posted speed limit, or 10 mph or less if you haven’t seen one posted
- Always yield to pedestrians and give adequate space
- Don’t expect pedestrians to use marked crosswalks
- Be aware of and anticipate the movements of pedestrians
- Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted to eliminate blind spots
- Check twice before backing out of a parking spot
- Don’t depend on your horn to alert other drivers and pedestrians
- Center and straighten your car in a parking spot
These tips can significantly reduce the risk of a car-pedestrian accident. However, they cannot eliminate the risk completely. Accidents can always happen.