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The start of the new school year is just a few short weeks away, which means families all over the Houston metro area will be hitting their favorite stores to purchase new school clothes and supplies. Unfortunately, the back-to-school rush means crowded roads, parking lots, and plenty of frustrated drivers. 

Your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns would like to remind you of the importance of remaining vigilant while driving in packed shopping areas. The following tips can keep you safe and help you avoid accident that could have been prevented.  

Five Prime Examples of Parking Lot Accidents 

1. Reversing at the same time. When two drivers suddenly back out of their parking spot and crash into each other, who is at fault? The fault is likely to fall on both. Both drivers are responsible for their actions. Neither of the drivers have the right of way. Each driver is responsible for checking their surroundings to be sure it is safe to back out.

2. Driver leaves parking space and drives straight into the traffic lane. In a parking lot, drivers in the traffic lane automatically have the right of way. So if a negligent driver leaves their parking spot and hits another vehicle, they are at fault in this incident.

3. Driver reverses out of a space into an oncoming vehicle. The driver in the traffic lane always has the right of way. The driver who is backing out is responsible for waiting until the surrounding area is clear. The driver backing out is more than likely at fault if an accident occurs.      

4. Multiple vehicles attempting to move into the same parking spot. With a high volume of traffic in a small space, drivers can get antsy and want to find a parking spot as quickly as possible. Sometimes the actions they take to secure a parking spot can lead to a crash.

When both vehicles are in-motion, both drivers must be responsible for their actions. But who has the right of way? On the roadway, the driver making a turn across traffic must yield to oncoming traffic. The driver turning left must generally yield to the driver turning right into the parking spot. Other factors will play a part, as well, such as points of impact on the vehicles, how far each vehicle was into the space when the crash occurred, and the speed of each vehicle before impact.

5. Stop sign rear-end accident. These frequently occur in parking lots as the at-fault driver is usually anxious to get onto the roadway and fails to note the vehicle at the stop sign is yielding to traffic. 

Tips to Avoid a Parking Lot Accident

If you’re stuck in a crowded parking lot during the back-to-school rush, remember to keep collected and follow these tips: 

  1. Drive with caution. Drive slowly and use extra caution when turning or backing out of your parking space. Not only should you be looking out for other cars but pedestrians as well.   
  2. Use your side mirrors to back out. When backing out of your parking spot, double check your mirrors and your blind spots to ensure there are no cars or pedestrians around you. 
  3. Use technology to your advantage. When purchasing a new vehicle, consider buying one with collision avoidance technology, which generally includes: cameras in the front and back of the vehicle, traffic alert system sensors for when you’re braking, and a parking system assistant that will help you when parking your car.
  4. Park at a distance if necessary. While the summer heat can be grueling, it might just be in your best interest to park outside of congested areas. 
  5. Pull-through spots. Keep an eye out for a spot that you can move forward through when leaving without having to back out.

With the back-to-school season in full swing, department store parking lots will be extra congested, so please be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you want to avoid the chaos altogether, shop on off-hours such as early in the morning or during the weekdays when fewer shoppers are out and about. 

If you find yourself in a parking lot car accident, contact your Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns for a FREE case review.