In 2018, there were roughly 96,000 crashes in B.C. parking lots that ended in a claim being filed, according to ICBC. (Pixabay photo)

There were 96,000 crashes in B.C. parking lots in 2018, ICBC says

ICBC is asking drivers to prioritize safety over finding the perfect parking spot while shopping for holidays

Shopping deals this holiday season may be head-turning but ICBC is urging drivers stay focused when navigating through parking lots – a seemingly difficult task for many.

In 2018, there were roughly 96,000 crashes in B.C. parking lots that ended in a claim being filed, according to the insurance corporation. About 4,300 of those ended in injuries. Meanwhile, 480 pedestrians were injured in parking lot collisions.

“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,” ICBC said in a news release Thursday.

“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.”

READ MORE: B.C. drivers can calculate new insurance rates amid ICBC changes

Drivers are being urged to apply a bit of holiday cheer when navigating through busy lots and practice patience.

Here’s a few tips this holiday season:

  • The rules of the road still apply: 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, especially young children, who may be harder to see.
  • Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs: Many parking lots are quite narrow, restricting certain lanes to a single direction. Pay attention to the signs and markings on the road to avoid getting into a crash.
  • 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. Sitting idle in a lane can leave you vulnerable to a collision, and you could be blocking other drivers who are trying to leave.
  • Let it go: No sense in having a showdown with another driver for a parking spot. Move along, and maybe that good karma will net you something really nice this season.

@ashwadhwani
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