One out of every five car accidents take place in a parking lot, making up about 14% of all auto damage insurance claims. Even though parking lots create stressful driving environments, what with trying to find a parking space and people with shopping carts attempting to make their way around, parking lot accidents are mostly avoidable when driving with care and attention.
Most common parking lot accidents
Knowing which parking lot accidents are most common can help you prevent one:
- Hitting a parked vehicle, usually when entering or exiting a parking spot. If a spot looks tight, move on.
- A vehicle hitting a stationary item, such as a light stand or parking block.
- Running into a pedestrian or a cyclist.
- Rear-ending another vehicle at a corner or a stop sign.
- Collisions between vehicles while one is exiting a parking spot.
Who has the right of way in parking lots?
Generally, the vehicle that was moving is the one considered at-fault for a parking lot accident. If all vehicles are in motion, right-of-way is considered. Some scenarios and how fault may be determined are:
- Two vehicles collide when backing up. In this case, fault would be 50/50 between drivers as both were in motion.
- Traffic lanes in parking lots have the right of way. So, if someone pulls out of a parking spot unexpectedly into a traffic lane and there is an accident, the person pulling out would bear the majority of the fault. Fault would be assigned to both drivers, however, if both were in motion.
- Vehicles turning right have the right of way in parking lots. Therefore, if two vehicles vying for a spot collide, the majority of the fault would go to the driver turning left or crossing the traffic lane. Other factors such as distance of the vehicles from the spot and speed of both vehicles may also be considered.
- Rear-ending another driver when they are stopped will nearly always result in an at-fault determination.
Avoid parking lot accidents
Always exercise extra caution when driving in a parkade or parking lot. Here are some proven tips on avoiding accidents in parking facilities:
- Reduce your speed. City bylaws often specify a maximum speed of 15 km/h in parking lots unless otherwise posted, but it’s best to travel at 10 km/h or slower.
- Follow traffic signs correctly and pay attention to your surroundings all the time.
- Be patient. Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way.
- Watch the brake and headlights of parked drivers carefully. If someone is sitting in a running vehicle, their next move is likely to try to exit their parking space.
- Yield to drivers who are backing out of parking spots.
- Don’t completely rely on your backup camera. Use a combination of your camera, your mirrors, and your back window.
- Take the first available space you find. Driving around searching for a “better” spot increases your risk of an accident.
- Turn on your headlights when going into a parkade.
- Toot your horn when you’re heading around blind corners to alert others to your presence.
Changes to how car insurance claims are paid
At the beginning of 2022, Alberta government implemented a direct compensation for property damage (DCPD) program that changed how car insurance claims are paid in the province. What has changed is that regardless of whether or not you were responsible for an accident, payment for damage is provided directly from your own insurer rather than the other party’s. If you were not at fault, your insurance premiums should not change.
It was a decision supported by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. DCPD is said to help reduce the overall cost of car insurance by removing several slow and expensive steps from the claims process. Insurance providers are able to reduce the red tape for their customers by not having to demand payment from another company, and drivers receive their money quicker and with less hassle.
Park in a safe location for lower car insurance
Car theft is not uncommon in Calgary, and parking lots are a prime target for thieves. Always park in a well-lit lot and never leave your vehicle longer than absolutely necessary. If you must leave it overnight, park in a secured lot with cameras. Keep any valuables out of sight … or better yet, try not to keep any valuables in your vehicle at all. Here are some more tips on how to avoid having your car stolen.
Lane’s Insurance of Calgary covers Alberta
We at Lane’s Insurance are a leading Calgary-based insurance brokerage providing comprehensive and affordable protection to drivers across the province. If you have any questions about your car insurance coverage, or if you’d like a fast, free, no-obligation quote, Calgary, Banff, Edmonton and greater Alberta offices.