Nationwide: 13% of auto accidents happen in parking lots

John Egan

Nothing like a fender-bender in the parking lot at the mall to put a dent in your shopping excursion.

Auto insurance company Nationwide says that based on its 2012 claims data, about 13 percent of car crashes happen in parking lots. Auto insurance company Progressive says nearly 25 percent of its accident claims from “Black Friday” arise from mishaps in parking lots.

Bill Windsor, associate vice president of consumer safety at Nationwide, says in a news release: “Crowded parking lots are fertile ground for fender-benders. Don’t suspend your good judgment in the rush to shop. Please drive defensively.”

Nationwide offers these tips for safely navigating parking lots:

  • Don’t speed.
  • Be aware of what others around you are doing and expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for pedestrians.
  • Look for people or objects in your way before backing out of a parking space.
  • Back out of a parking space very slowly, as the cars next to you may block your vision.
  • Look for cars waiting to take your parking space, other cars that are backing out at the same time and motorists speeding through the parking lot.

“Although common, parking lot accidents are usually low-speed collisions,” according to Lawyers.com. “Damage is minimal, and usually personal injuries aren’t very serious. That doesn’t mean you should take one of these accidents lightly, though.”

Lawyers.com provides these recommendations if you do wind up crashing your car in a parking lot:

  • Pull the cars out of the way of traffic and into a safe spot.
  • If you can’t move your car, put on the emergency flashers and get out.
  • Call the police.
  • Call your auto insurance company.
  • If you have a cellphone with a camera, take pictures of the accident scene.
  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information with other drivers.
  • Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Note any facts regarding the accident, such as time, date, location, weather conditions and parking lot conditions.

According to Progressive, damage from an accident in a parking lot typically falls under collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage – both of which are optional types of insurance.

“Protecting your car can be as easy as parking it a little further back in the parking lot, away from the commotion of the store,” Maria Cashy, claims customer service process leader at Progressive, says in a news release. “That extra 100 feet could save your car some serious damage.”

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