Winter Parking Lots: 5 Hazards That Can Cause An Accident

Posted on: 14 September 2015

Winter is a popular time for retail shopping centers as people browse for holiday gifts, big family dinners, and cold-weather products. The time to shop can also create a number of hazards in the parking lot as winter weather arrives. Snow, freezing rain, and blizzards can create a giant mess in a parking lot and eventually lead to auto accidents. If you've been involved in a parking lot accident, then there are five possible hazards that could have made the retail store liable for damages. By working with a car crash attorney, you can determine whether improper care of the parking lot is the cause of the accident.

Blind Spots

As snow piles up in a parking lot, store owners will do everything they can to remove it and clear as many parking spaces as possible. This often leads to giant mounds of snow in specific areas of the lot. The snow could take months to melt, creating a huge blind spot for people entering and exiting the lot.  If another car cannot see you approaching, it's easy for the vehicle to reverse and slam into your car.

If the big mounds of snow were poorly placed, then the retail store could be liable for causing the dangerous situation. An attorney can use images and video of the snow mounds to properly determine how much they interfered with driving safety on the lot. As long as you were following as many winter parking safety tips as possible, you will typically not be at fault for your claim.

Parking Space Sizes

The amount of snow left in a parking lot can also diminish the size of spaces. Spaces are often left tighter or at strange angles. When this occurs, it's easy for vehicles to slam into each other or scrape against the side as they are trying to park. If your vehicle is jammed because of the limited space, both the driver and the lot owner could be at fault. Even if you parked in a full-size spot, another vehicle could attempt to park in a smaller spot next to yours and cause an accident.

Ice Sections

As cars drive in and out of a lot, snow is pushed down and pressurized. As the temperature decreases, the snow quickly transforms into large patches of ice. On the roads, it's common for salt or sand to help prevent sliding, but parking lots can be left untreated. This can create areas where cars slide, spin, and crash into one another.

Not only can these ice sections cause you to crash into other vehicles, but you could end up hitting objects like shopping carts. Just because your vehicle is the only one involved in the crash doesn't mean it's your fault. The negligence of the store could be the cause of the accident. An attorney will help prove this as best as possible.

Blocked Signs

Navigating a parking lot can be confusing even when there isn't any snow. Snow build-up can cause further confusion when it covers signs and painted messages that guide users through a parking lot. For example, a "Do Not Enter" sign could be covered by snow. This may cause two cars to crash head-on into each other. If the signs were properly cleaned off, then an accident like this could have been prevented. This is why an attorney will examine every aspect of the case to determine the exact cause of your accident.

Snow Removal Equipment

Sometimes the process of cleaning a snowy parking lot could be the cause of an accident. Large snow plows may clip your vehicle, snow blowers may send objects into your car, or you may be forced to brake quickly as a plow drives through. All of these hazards can change the way you drive through the lot and get involved in the accident.

Acquiring video surveillance of the crash is another way to help investigate your case and get as much evidence as possible. Even if you drive as safely as possible, these hazards and other drivers could have caused your accident. For more information, contact a local car crash attorney