woman walks through parking lot after holiday shopping

The Christmas shopping season is underway. If you are headed to Gurnee Mills, or another local shopping center, on any weekend in December, you’re going to have a hard time finding a place to park. But parking is only part of the challenge. Once you’ve parked, you need to actually get in the mall.

Distracted driving is a problem all year long, but the holiday season brings driver distraction to a new level. As you walk to the mall from your spot at the edge of the parking lot, you must avoid drivers who are focused on finding their own parking spot, crossing names off a holiday list, and getting a great deal. Instead of watching for pedestrians, drivers may be on the phone confirming slipper sizes, checking whether Grandma already has a Santa-shaped teapot, or even digging through handbags for coupons and sales flyers. Mix in some winter weather, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Parking lot accidents happen every day. In most cases, the drivers are traveling at slow speeds and the injuries are minor. However, it is possible for a parking lot pedestrian accident to cause serious injuries or even death. Both pedestrians and drivers can take steps to prevent parking lot pedestrian accidents.

As a pedestrian you can:

  • Avoid distractions. Put away your cell phone until you reach the sidewalk.
  • Watch for vehicles. Walking in a parking lot is a lot like walking in the street, but you can’t predict from which direction cars will come. Keep your eyes open, look both ways, and watch for brake lights and other signs that a car will be pulling out.
  • Be seen. Don’t walk out from between cars, and don’t wear dark colored clothes at night. If your jacket doesn’t have reflective trim, you can buy a clip-on light for less than five dollars.
  • Don’t assume that drivers see you. Don’t cross in front of a vehicle until the driver has stopped.

As a driver you can:

  • Watch for pedestrians. As soon you park, you’ll be a pedestrian. Use the same care that you’d like drivers to use when you’re the one walking.
  • Slow down. It’s harder to stop if you are driving fast.
  • Avoid distractions. Put away the cell phone until after you’ve parked. Don’t multitask while driving.
  • Assume the pedestrian doesn’t see you. Don’t expect pedestrians to anticipate your moves.
  • Check your vehicle’s blind spots. Be extra careful when backing out. It can be hard to see pedestrians, especially children.

Illinois drivers have a duty to watch for pedestrians whether they are driving on the street or driving in the parking lot. If you were injured in a parking lot accident, it is important that you know your rights. You may be eligible for monetary compensation from the driver who caused your injuries. Contact our personal injury office in Gurnee at 847-625-5500​.

Jason F. Abraham
Connect with me
Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.