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Parking Lot Hazards Increase Dramatically During Holiday Season

crowded parking lot
Photo copyright Chris Gold  

Increased traffic and pedestrians, early sunset, a host of distractions and scam artists make parking lots one of the more dangerous places during the holiday season. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Citadel Outlets are warning consumers about the increased hazards of parking lot traffic this season with driving hazard demonstrations and holiday driving tips.


“A moment of distraction or poor judgment can lead to tragedy,” said Commissioner Jones. “The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to pay attention and be aware of hazards in busy parking lots.”

Fourteen percent of all collisions occur in parking lots and often lead to expensive insurance claims for vehicle damage or worse—injuries if you strike a pedestrian. Distractions lead to most crashes—passengers, phones, the radio or simply the great search for the best parking spot—all contribute to the high crash rate in parking lots.

“The Auto Club wants this to be a season of joy and celebration, not a season that is spoiled by a parking lot accident,” said Kathy Sieck, senior vice president of public affairs for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “Our auto claims data shows that two of the days with the highest number of auto claims occur during this time of year—the day before Thanksgiving and the Friday before Christmas.” 

2011 federal transportation statistics show 39 percent of fatal non-traffic collisions occurred while 

backing up. Drivers in parking lots may develop tunnel vision, as they search for a spot and miss some of the hazards around them, including pedestrians and moving vehicles.

Parking lot activity increases dramatically during the busy holiday season, making drivers more vulnerable to crashes and pedestrians at greater risk for injury.


CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.