Crazy Shopping Day Means More Car, Pedestrian Accidents
Apparently, Black Friday is still a thing.
Even with some large retail chains touting how their stores will be closed for Thanksgiving so employees can enjoy time with their families, the traditional day-after shopping frenzy will still be tempting to some folks.
Recent studies have shown an uptick in car accidents on Black Friday, with a 34% increase when compared with the two-week period prior to Thanksgiving. And don't think that Friday is the only problem day – the study also shows that vehicle crashes increase by 25% on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and increase by 20% on turkey day itself.
Clearly, there are more awkward encounters during this Holiday than just having to sit next to your weird Uncle Carl.
Packed Parking Lots
The majority of motor vehicle accidents happen in the crammed parking lots at the busy shopping centers and malls. Even though you might assume that a parking lot collision doesn't result in serious injury or property damage, that is not always the case. With the way people drive in trying to get the best sale prices, they often speed through parking lots without paying attention. They're often doing this at night, (or so early in the morning that it's still dark), so seeing can be difficult.
Cars hitting pedestrians is also a real concern in the craziness of a retail store parking lot. People are walking with large packages, trying to use their cell phones or talking to friends at the same time. This is a recipe for disaster. Many people are injured walking to or from their car by a driver who is racing to snag that last cherished parking spot, while speeding and not watching where they're going.
Fort Myers personal injury attorney Mike Noone points out that there are things you can do to try and stay safe if you're out shopping on Black Friday. “Unfortunately, it's incumbent on each person, especially pedestrians, to do all they can to keep from getting hurt in a parking lot collision”, he says. “Seldom has there been a better time to follow the old adage of ‘watch out for the other guy'.
What You Can Do To Stay Safe
- Look twice – or three times – before backing out of your parking space. Cars can travel too quickly up and down the parking lot, and often drivers do not see the back-up lights of cars trying to back out of their space.
- When on foot, keep your eyes on any cars driving near you. You'll need to watch not only the cars themselves, but the head movements and eye motions, if possible, of the driver. By staying alert in anticipating what approaching cars may or may not do – like stop fully at a pedestrian crosswalk – you'll limit your risk of getting hit.
- Road rage is real, even in a parking lot. The overall stress that some people feel around the Holidays, coupled with the mad dash of racing to get the last parking spot, can enrage some drivers. What starts out as a minor, avoidable confrontation can quickly escalate into a screaming match, a physical altercation or in severe cases, discharging of a firearm.
Other Things To Watch For to Stay Safe
Even though parking a little farther out in the mall parking lot might get you a little relief from the crazy drivers, you should always consider your personal safety, especially at night. Inadequate or negligent security measures, poor or inadequate lighting and a number of other things can result in causing a trip and fall injury, or being assaulted in a retail parking lot.
Women should always keep a tight hold on their purses to avoid a purse-snatching assault. You may want to leave your big purse at home and just carry some cash or credit cards somewhere on your person.
Try not to shop alone. Go with one or more friends or family members if possible to reduce your risk of becoming a target. Keep an eye out for shopping center shuttle services to take you to and from your car. Try to shop at a place where you know they have mobile security guard patrols that are actively scouting the area.
Never leave anything of value in plain sight inside your car. Lock any packages in the trunk, and don't leave things like a checkbook, phone, jewelry or other valuables in plain sight.
Be Smart, Shop Safely
Using a little common sense if you're out and about on Black Friday can go a long way in making sure you make it back home for the Thanksgiving leftovers. It's bad enough to suffer a serious injury because someone else was careless or negligent, but it can be made even worse when it happens over a Holiday.
Keep your wits about you always, staying alert for any potential dangerous situations around you. Avoid unnecessary distractions, especially while driving, but even when on foot, too. Don't let this festive time of year turn tragic.
If you ever are injured because of the actions of another person, or simply have a question on any topic regarding the law, we're just a phone call away. Reach out to us at 239-461-5508, or just complete this simple form and we'll be in touch with you immediately.