It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but parking lots certainly aren’t the most wonderful places to be.
With many rushing to find the perfect gift, they’re also looking for the ideal spot — making for a tight squeeze for drivers.
“I make sure that I’m not bumping into another car, to be honest,” said one driver.
“You have to be very careful,” added another. “Cyclists, pedestrians. All kinds of people on the road.”
Conflict often arises with so many people chasing so few empty parking spots, according to Shabnem Afzal, director of Road Safety Policy at ICBC.
“There is a lot going on. And people are in a rush. And sometimes we get impatient. And sometimes that can add to the danger of getting into a collision,” Afzal said.
According to ICBC, 31 per cent of all motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. That’s 234 every day and more than 85,000 annually.
Drivers say it’s something they know all too well.
“You should be here on a weekend,” said one driver. “You should see how crazy it is.”
Afzal says there are some safety tips for drivers, including backing in to increase awareness of what’s around you. She says pedestrians walking through busy lots should use pathways and watch out for vehicles backing up.
Afzal adds that some mistakenly believe driving in parking lots is safer due to lower travel speeds.
However, drivers need to continue practicing their safe driving habits because these lots present drivers with unique challenges, such as increased congestion and heavy pedestrian activity.
The holiday season could add a layer of distraction, making people more preoccupied with shopping lists or finding a parking spot.
“As you can see, it’s a very real issue. And it’s happening a lot,” Afzal said.
She says the worst times for parking lot accidents are Thursdays and Fridays between noon and 3 p.m.
The advice is to stay focused on the road, not the shopping deals this holiday season.