How Dangerous Parking Lots & Garages Cause CrashesJune 3, 2023
Here’s How Parking Lots & Garages Can Be Riskier Than You May Realize
Parking facilities are almost everywhere these days, and most of the motoring public encounters parking garages or parking lots pretty regularly. That can make it easy to overlook the real hazards and risks present in parking facilities, but it doesn’t make them any less dangerous.
In fact, recent statistics show that:
- At least 50,000 motor vehicle accidents happen in parking lots and garages every year in the U.S.
- Daily, that works out to an average of 136 parking lot and parking garage crashes.
- Each year, collisions in parking facilities result in more than 60,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
Uncovering what’s behind these crashes, injuries, and deaths, the following highlights some of the most common dangers associated with parking lots and parking garages and how they can contribute to serious wrecks.
Top 6 Dangers in Parking Lots & Parking Garages: How Accidents Happen
Parking facilities can be busy traffic sites where lots of action happens. That can create complicated conditions for driving, walking, or otherwise getting around — and the risks can only increase from there whenever any of the following dangers are present.
1. Poor Lighting
Drivers and pedestrians need a certain amount of light to be able to safely navigate parking lots and garages, especially at night, in adverse weather, or when visibility may be low for any reason. That may be challenging, if not impossible, however, if parking facilities have poor lighting in the form of:
- No lights: Parking lots and parking garages may lack lighting and light poles, or lighting systems and equipment may be broken. Either way, no lighting can prevent drivers and others from seeing and safely responding to their surroundings.
- Insufficient lighting: Dim lighting can be another danger in parking facilities. In fact, parking areas generally need a certain number of lumens to provide sufficient lighting, like 20,000 lumens to cover roughly 15 to 20 feet of space. Without that, the risks of a crash in parking lots and garages can spike.
2. Security Failures
Security features in parking facilities can prevent crime, like theft and assaults, while also encouraging drivers (and others) to follow the rules of the facility. While different parking lots and parking garages can have different security systems and features, generally, these features include (and aren’t limited to):
- Surveillance cameras: Ideally, these cameras monitor and record the activities in a given area. However, the presence of cameras doesn’t necessarily mean they are operable, they’re pointing in the right direction(s), or they have s enough lighting to record clear footage.
- Sufficient lighting: Poor lighting can create dark spaces where’s it challenging, if not impossible, to see certain risks and avoid them.
- Patrolling guards: If security guards aren’t making the rounds or providing sufficient surveillance, they can miss red flags and overlook real dangers.
- Signage: A lack of signage, including signs to warn visitors of security that’s in progress, is another security failure that can contribute to riskier conditions in parking lots and parking garages.
3. Poor Design
The layout of a parking lot or a parking garage can also be a factor in how safe or risky that facility is. In fact, when it comes to poor design and accident risks, the dangers can include (and are not limited to):
- Cramped or congested facilities, with insufficient space for vehicles to park, turn around, or move about
- Maze-like lots or garages with overly complex designs
- Confusing or conflicting rights-of-way for vehicles and/or pedestrians
- Blind spots for drivers and/or pedestrians
- Poorly or dangerously placed driveways, walkways, and/or parking garage entrances
- A lack of walkways or crosswalks for pedestrians
4. Missing or Conflicting Signage
The signage in parking lots and garages can be pivotal to the safe, smooth flow of traffic. As such, the signs in parking facilities generally include (and aren’t limited to):
- Speed Limit signs
- Stop signs
- Loading Zone signs
- One Way or Do Not Enter signs
- Emergency Parking and Handicap Parking signs
If these signs are missing, damaged, unclear, or conflicting:
- They can create a lot of confusion.
- There’s a much greater risk that motorists and/or pedestrians will end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- It’s more difficult for anyone in that parking lot or parking garage to keep themselves safe and reduce their crash risks.
5. No ADA-Accessibility
Parking lots and parking garages may not have parking spots that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In fact, when it comes to ADA-compliant parking spaces:
- Federal regulations specify how much space must be provided for car versus van parking.
- ADA parking must have an access aisle, minimal sloping in all directions, and a slip-resistant surface.
Even if those requirements are met in parking lots and parking garages, few provide accessibility via or to:
- Bus stops
- Nearby public transportation
Beyond that, poorly maintained blacktops and blind spots in parking facilities can create especially risky conditions for disabled individuals.
Unfortunately, the dangers in parking garages and parking lots aren’t limited to lighting, design, security, signage, and ADA compliance issues.
They can also arise from several other factors and failures, like (but not limited to):
- Poor blacktop conditions, like potholes, cracks, and/or severely faded striping
- Overgrown landscaping, broken planters, and/or debris in the path of traffic
- Loiters who may block crucial signage
These and other hazards in parking facilities can come up without warning, creating more complex conditions in the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant in parking lots and parking garages.
Parking Lot & Parking Garage Dangers: The Bottom Line
Knowing some of the most common risks associated with parking facilities can help you be proactive about safety whenever you’re driving or walking through these areas. As careful and aware as you may be, however, you can’t control what others do or don’t do — and, sometimes, that can lead to accidents.
When it does and you or someone you love has been hurt, investigating the crash to figure out how it happened can help you determine who’s at fault and how to move forward. So can an experienced auto accident attorney.