I’m going on a bit of a rant with this week’s column. I can’t help it. There are a few things that need to be said in hopes of ending what has become a terrible trend in driving.
Years ago, when I was living in New York City, some friends and I took a trip to Connecticut. While there, we visited a shopping mall. We never made it in, but we visited. Why didn’t we go in? I’ll tell you.
Before we made it into the mall, a car came zooming out of nowhere and hit an elderly woman. She didn’t make it. The driver said he was cutting the lanes looking for a quicker way out of the mall because he wanted to head back to work and not be late.
How many times have you been in a parking lot, and just decided to cut between all the lanes by driving over the parking spaces? Maybe you were in a hurry and had to rush out. You thought to yourself that this was quicker than just following the directions of the lanes. (Not sure what I am talking about? Take a look at the video, and you’ll get an idea)
Or, have you driven through a parking lot and decided to answer that text message you just received, looked down, taking your eyes off of where you were going?
Not following the lanes, texting, speeding, taking shortcuts, I’m sure we’ve all done it at one time or another. I’m sure we’ve never really thought much about it.
Then something happens that makes you stop and think.
Just over a week ago I was shooting the Coyotes game for the Herald-Post. I pulled out of my parking space and was driving between the rows of cars when out of nowhere a car comes tearing thought parked cars, taking that shortcut, and collides with the right rear of the car we were driving.
I was following the direction and path I was supposed to follow. This guy, he was cutting between cars, and taking a shortcut. Not only that, he was speeding and texting all at the same time.
This is nothing new. I wanted to find out just how often this happens, people causing car wrecks while in parking lots.
I reached out to the American Insurance Association and spoke with Maggie Seidel.
“The National Safety Council numbers,” said Maggie, “has the number of accidents in parking lots and parking structures at more than 50,000.”
Those are startling numbers. Last year alone there were 50,000 accidents in parking lots.
“The result,” Maggie continued, “is more than 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries.”
Just what was the cause of all of these wrecks?
“You’re in a parking lot,” says Maggie, “programming your GPS system, sending a text to someone one, making calls, receiving calls, that’s part of the problem.”
Another part of the problem? Being in a hurry.
The guy who crashed into us, when he spoke to us, wasn’t asking if we were okay. No. He was complaining because he was in a hurry and trying to beat as many people out of the parking lot as he could.
So what is so important that you have to speed through a parking lot? Where do you have to be so urgently that you don’t feel the need to stop and pay attention to where you are going, or even follow the lanes without having to take a shortcut?
Take a moment – before you leave – to make sure you have sent all those text messages that just can’t wait. Get your GPS up and running, before you start driving. Leave with more than enough time, so you are not in a hurry.
Just pay attention when you are driving in a parking lot, and drive slowly following the lanes as they are laid out.
Okay, end of rant.