Rancho Cucamonga woman wearing black clothing crossing street in marked pedestrian crosswalk

Why Pedestrian Accidents Increase During the Holidays

The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. Rancho Cucamonga area malls and stores are packed with shoppers, and everyone seems to be in a rush trying to find gifts for those who are on their Christmas lists. The bars and restaurants tend to be packed this time of year as well with all of the holiday parties and gatherings that are going on.

Because of all the hustle and bustle, there are substantial increases in both motorist and pedestrian traffic. Statistically, this makes it far more likely for pedestrian accidents to occur. And whenever a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the chances of serious injuries are more likely as well.

During most of the year, pedestrian accidents tend to occur at crosswalks and intersections where pedestrians compete with vehicle traffic in order to cross the roads. But during the holidays, pedestrian crashes happen more often in parking lots and parking garages. Rancho Cucamonga residents should be aware of this as they are out and about during this holiday season.

Hectic Holidays and Pedestrian Accidents in Parking Areas

Parking lot and parking garage accidents are far more common than most people realize. According to the National Safety Council, there are approximately 50,000 parking lot accidents each year, resulting in roughly 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries.  

Insurance companies report that there is a substantial increase in parking area accidents in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And not surprisingly, Black Friday sees the highest number of insurance claims every year.

The holidays produce almost a “perfect storm” of conditions that lead to pedestrian accidents in parking lots and parking garages. By far, the number one reason for pedestrian crashes around the holidays is distractions. Everyone is distracted by their seemingly endless “to-do” list, and this affects both motorists and pedestrians alike.

An NSC distracted driving public opinion poll from a few years ago contained some very disturbing findings:

  • 66% of respondents say they would make phone calls while driving through a parking lot.
  • 63% of respondents say they would program their GPS while driving through a lot or parking garage.
  • An astounding 56% said they would send or read a text message while driving through a lot or garage.
  • 52% said they would interact on social media, 50% said they would send or receive emails, and 49% said they would take photos or watch videos while driving through a parking lot or parking garage.

Personal grooming is another distraction that the majority of Americans seem to have no problem with doing when they are driving through a parking area. 59% of teens are likely to engage in this activity while 53% of adults are likely to do the same. Somewhat surprisingly, teens were found to be less likely than adults to be on their phones while driving in parking lots and garages (60% versus 66% of adults).

Other common issues that the NSC points to as contributors to parking lot pedestrian accidents include:

  • Inadequate pavement striping.
  • Cracks and potholes.
  • Lack of proper signage.
  • Water puddles and other slippery substances.

Young children are at particular risk of getting injured in pedestrian accidents during the holidays. Some reasons for this include:

  • Small Stature: The younger a child is, the smaller they tend to be. Their small size and stature make them easy for Rancho Cucamonga motorists to miss, especially those who drive SUVs and similarly large vehicles.
  • Unpredictable Actions: With younger children, you do not always know what they are going to do next. For example, small kids have been known to quickly dart out in front of oncoming vehicles or fail to get out of the way when a car is backing up.
  • Lack of Experience/Understanding of Traffic Rules: Since young kids have not lived as long, they naturally will not have the experience and understanding of the rules that an adult pedestrian would have. This is why drivers need to be especially careful when they see small children nearby.
  • Poor Parking Area Designs: Many malls and shopping centers in Rancho Cucamonga and throughout San Bernardino County are not well designed. They often lack clearly marked crosswalks and stop signs, which makes them confusing for all pedestrians, but especially for children.

Essential Safety Tips for Pedestrians During the Holidays

With the inherent dangers that Rancho Cucamonga pedestrians face during the holiday season, it is important to be proactive and take steps to keep yourself safe:

Stay visible. With motorists more distracted than ever, it is easy for them not to notice pedestrians, particularly at night. Wear bright, reflective clothing if possible, and use the flashlight on your phone to light your path if you are in a dimly lit area.

Stay alert while walking to and from your vehicle. Pedestrians are prone to distractions just as motorists are. When you are walking to and from your vehicle, stay off of your phone and keep your eyes on the vehicle traffic in the parking lot or garage.

Guard your children. If you are bringing your children to the mall or shopping center with you, keep them close to you and never let them out of your sight. Speak with your kids beforehand and inform them of the rules for safely navigating parking lots and garages. But also bear in mind that it will take a while for them to learn the rules and in the meantime, it is up to you to make sure they stay safe.

Use designated crosswalks. Avoid cutting across the parking lot or zig-zagging between cars. Travel in the main aisles and always look both ways before entering a crosswalk.

Do NOT assume that vehicle drivers can see you. When you see cars pulling into a parking spot or backing out of one, do not assume that the driver can see you. Remember that vehicles have blind spots, and before you make any moves, try to make eye contact with the driver to confirm that you have been seen.

Plan ahead. If possible, take some time to plan out your holiday shopping trips. Allow yourself enough time to comfortably complete the tasks on your “to-do” list so you will not be in a big hurry. Also, do your best to avoid peak shopping times when Rancho Cucamonga shops are the busiest, and remember that online shopping is always an option if you are looking for something that is difficult to locate in the stores.

Injured in a Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Accident? Muhareb Law Group is Here to Help 

The holiday shopping season is hectic for residents of Rancho Cucamonga and other communities in Southern California. And the busy conditions in the malls and shopping centers increase the likelihood of pedestrian accidents. Even if you have followed all of the best safety practices, a pedestrian crash is sometimes unavoidable.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident in the Rancho Cucamonga area, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney, so you will fully understand your legal rights and options. Once you have been treated for your injuries, contact Muhareb Law Group to discuss your legal case. 

Message us online or call our office today at (909) 519-5832 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.