Technically, distracted driving can occur anywhere that there are people in vehicles. Drivers pick up their phones at intersections and then move forward in traffic while still engaged with a device. People respond to text messages on the freeway, which might lead to them swerving into traffic and causing a crash.
The average motorist recognizes that someone with a phone in their hands or the blue glow of a device on their face is likely a safety risk. They may give these drivers more space in traffic in hopes of avoiding a wreck. However, distracted driving is not a risk only on busy streets and at major intersections. It is also a concern at a common location where people probably aren’t as concerned for their safety.
Distraction is a huge issue in parking lots
Although many people know they shouldn’t text while driving, they may think that parking lots are a safe place to do so. People pulling in off the street or heading toward the street may not be as safe about that transition as they should be. Roughly 56% of motorists admit to texting while driving in parking lots. That rate is even higher among teen drivers.
Those moments of distraction can culminate either in collisions or pedestrian crashes. Parking lot collisions often occur at relatively low speeds, although distracted drivers might travel at a faster speed than they should. Pedestrians could be at risk of severe injury or even death in a collision with a vehicle even at lower speeds.
Although higher speeds have a stronger association with catastrophic injuries and fatalities, someone knocked down in a parking lot could suffer a head injury that permanently alters their life. They could have broken bones or even spinal cord injuries that impact their health and employment. While people probably don’t think of parking lots as inherently dangerous locations, the surge in driver distraction caused by technology in recent years has changed that.
Pedestrians and motorists alike need to be careful in parking lots if they don’t want to end up hurt by someone who fails to prioritize public safety. Recognizing when and where certain forms of crash risk are higher may help people better protect themselves accordingly.