SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – During the holidays you expect the roads to be busy, but some of the most dangerous places for drivers are actually parking lots. The National Safety Council says each year there are 50,000 crashes in lots and garages nationwide, resulting in more than 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries.
In parking lots and parking garages throughout the United States, careless drivers put their lives at risk. For example, in 2015 a 92-year-old man in Mayville, Wisconsin was caught on surveillance video slamming into 10 cars while he tried to leave a Piggly Wiggly parking lot, local station WKOW reports.
“That’s very scary when you’re coming out of the store,” shopper Mila Hillgrove said.
Hillgrove saw this firsthand at Publix one day. “A senior citizen was crossing and someone came through really fast and didn’t even see him and he ended up having to go to the hospital,” she explained.
With the holiday shopping season approaching, people need to be especially vigilant. “Especially during this time of year they do get very crowded and people don’t really pay too much attention.”
“When people are in parking lots, they’re assuming that the rules no longer apply,” Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kenn Watson said.
The National Safety Council survey found 49 percent of drivers admit to watching videos while driving in the parking lot. In addition, 52 percent of drivers have used social media and 42 percent have video chatted, all while driving.
Watson said drivers need to “have a little bit of sense of what’s around you.” “You want to make sure that you’re not gonna cause a crash or you’re not gonna hit somebody,” he added.
On Black Friday state troopers and sheriff’s deputies will be stationed at malls and shopping plazas throughout Sarasota County looking for careless drivers. Officials say when in lots, put down the phones, be extra cautious and be patient so no one gets hurt.