With the holiday shopping season officially kicking off at local malls, outlets, and other businesses this week, ICBC is asking those who drive to their shopping destinations to “prioritize safety over finding the perfect parking spot” when they arrive.
And while it may be hard to believe that such a warning is needed, ICBC noted that last year alone, 96,000 crashes in BC took place in parking lots.
Of these, 4,300 resulted in casualties and 92,000 resulted in damages only. A total of 480 pedestrians were also injured in parking lot collisions last year.
“While some may believe that driving in parking lots is ‘safer’ than highway driving, parking lots present drivers with other challenges such as increased congestion and heavy pedestrian activity,” said ICBC in a release. “The holiday season could add a layer of distraction with people apt to be more preoccupied with their shopping list or finding a parking spot.”
However, “the rules of the road still apply, even on private property where the public is invited to park.”
As such, ICBC said it is encouraging drivers to “apply a bit of holiday cheer, be courteous and have a bit more patience during this time of year.”
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ICBC has also offered a number of tips to help drivers do just that:
- Don’t use your phone while driving, even in parking lots. Program your navigation or holiday tunes before you put your car in gear.
- Have your car facing out in your parking spot: This position is safest for drivers because it helps you avoid the risk of reversing into a lane with potential blind spots when leaving.
- Park further away, if you can: Instead of circling endlessly to get a spot that’s closest to the mall entrance, pick a spot that’s further away. You’ll avoid a high-traffic area where you’re more likely to crash with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian.
- Slow down and be on alert: Drivers should drive slowly in parking lots to have enough time to react to an unexpected vehicle backing out of their parking spot or an unanticipated pedestrian.
- Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs: Many parking lots are quite narrow, restricting certain lanes to a single direction.
- Don’t block traffic: Deciding to follow a shopper, then waiting for them to load their car, buckle up and leave, jams up traffic behind you and likely takes you much longer than if you had just found a spot further away.