On Black Friday, brick-and-mortar stores are not the only places that are packed with holiday shoppers. In order to take advantage of the Black Friday deals, shoppers need to drive to the store or shopping center that has the product they are looking for, whether that is the hottest toy, a television, or the latest iPhone. That means that there are more cars on the roads and exhausted, frazzled, and stressed out shoppers behind the wheel.
According to data from Progressive Insurance, there is a 34 percent increase in car accidents on Black Friday, ranging from minor fender-benders in parking lots to more serious collisions that result in severe injuries or fatalities. If you are injured in a collision on Black Friday, do not hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at your earliest convenience.
Anytime there are more cars on the road, there is an increased risk of more car accidents. If you have ever been out on Black Friday, you know that the roads are packed with holiday shoppers, as well as other motorists who are simply trying to get from one place to another. Car accidents are more likely to occur when there are more vehicles on the roads, and Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The following are factors that increase the risk of a car accident on Black Friday:
- Distracted driving: On Black Friday, motorists may be thinking about which store they want to get to first, where they are going to park, which product they want to score before it sells out, and what time the stores open and close. In addition to all of these thoughts, they may be checking text messages, making phone calls, or dealing with tired children who are riding in the back seat. All of these distractions can take the driver’s attention off the road, which dramatically increases the risk of a car accident.
- Drowsy driving: Shopping in crowded stores, standing in long lines, and dealing with aggressive shoppers can be exhausting. In addition, depending on what time the stores you were shopping at opened, you may have gotten up extremely early and functioning on very little sleep. When you get back in your car at the end of your shopping spree, you may be physically and mentally exhausted.
- Impaired driving: After a long day of shopping, it may be very tempting to stop at a restaurant on the way home and enjoy a glass or two of wine or a cocktail. However, even one drink can cause impairments that can jeopardize your ability to maneuver busy parking garages, safely navigate the increased traffic, and react to other motorists who may be distracted or showing signs of aggressive driving.
- Aggressive driving: Too often, shoppers get in their car and take their frustrations out on other drivers. From tailgating and cutting off other drivers, to weaving in and out of lanes without signaling, aggressive driving can quickly become dangerous.
What Causes Parking Lot Accidents?
On Black Friday, you will notice packed parking lots with drivers frantically trying to get a parking space. Each year, more than 60,000 people are injured and over 500 are killed each year in car accidents that occur in parking lots and parking garages, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The following are some of the most common causes of parking lot accidents:
- Motorists reversing without checking their blind spots, or they rely too heavily on their backup cameras and warning signals.
- Drivers often pull through parking spaces if a car is not parked in a space in front of them. This can cause an accident if a motorist is pulling in at the same time the other driver is pulling out of the space.
- If a shopping center has restaurants where alcohol is served, there is a risk of an impaired driving accident in a parking lot. Even a couple of drinks can affect a driver’s coordination, motor skills, concentration, and ability to react quickly to another car or a pedestrian.
- Aggressive motorists often drive too fast in parking garages, take turns too quickly, or ignore directional signals that direct the flow of traffic. This is extremely dangerous when there are many shoppers walking to their vehicles.
- It is also common for a motorist to steal a parking spot from another driver. In addition to the risk of causing an accident, the two drivers may end up arguing with each other, which can become a potentially violent situation if tempers flare.
How Can I Avoid an Accident in a Parking Lot?
Once you have finished shopping, you need to get home safely. You will need to navigate the chaotic parking lot without getting into an accident. You can significantly reduce the risk of an accident by keeping the following safety tips in mind:
- Stay focused. There is a lot going on in a busy parking lot or garage, so it is important that you pay attention to your surroundings and avoid any distractions.
- Back into a parking spot. This is much safer than backing out of a spot where it can be difficult to see cars and other pedestrians coming and going. It is also easier to pull right out of the spot when you are ready to leave.
- Park farther away. This reduces the risk of getting hit by another motorist who is waiting for your spot. However, make sure that you are parking in an area that is well-lit and has many people.
If you are involved in a parking lot accident while shopping on Black Friday, it is important that you do the following steps:
- Call 911 to report the accident. Depending on the nature of the collision, police may refuse to investigate the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- Take a picture of the vehicles and any injuries you suffered, as well as any skid marks or other debris on the ground.
- If the parking lot was very busy, it is likely that there were witnesses who saw the accident happen. Ask if they would be willing to provide a statement, and ask for their contact information as well.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you were injured.
- Consider contacting an experienced car accident lawyer.
What Safety Tips Can Help Me Avoid a Car Accident on Black Friday?
The best way to avoid the heavy traffic, aggressive shoppers, and the hectic parking is to simply stay home. However, if the Black Friday shopping experience is something that you look forward to, there are some safety tips you should keep in mind:
- Always obey the rules of the road, particularly when the traffic is heavy.
- Put the phone away, and avoid any distractions while you navigate the busy commute.
- If another driver is tailgating you or starts to yell profanities at you, do not engage with that person. Simply move to a different lane, and put distance between you and the aggressive driver. If they continue to follow you, exit the highway, and call 911.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Represent Clients Injured in Black Friday Collisions
If you plan to shop on Black Friday, make sure you pay extra attention to your surroundings. If you become involved in a car accident on Black Friday, you are urged to contact our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.