As the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week, ICBC is asking drivers to prioritize safety over finding the perfect parking spot. Last year, there were about 96,000 crashes that happened in parking lots.*

ICBC receives hundreds of thousands of claims every year, with vehicle damage costs totaling $1.33 billion in 2018 alone.

While some may believe that driving in parking lots is ‘safer’ than highway driving, parking lots present drivers with other challenges such as increased congestion and heavy pedestrian activity. The holiday season could add a layer of distraction with people apt to be more preoccupied with their shopping list or finding a parking spot.

Drivers are encouraged to apply a bit of holiday cheer, be courteous and have a bit more patience during this time of year with these Drive Smart tips from ICBC:

  • The rules of the road still apply, even on private property where the public is invited to park. Don’t use your phone while driving, even in parking lots. Program your navigation or holiday tunes before you put your car in gear.
  • Have your car facing out in your parking spot: This position is safest for drivers because it helps you avoid the risk of reversing into a lane with potential blind spots when leaving.
  • Park further away, if you can: Instead of circling endlessly to get a spot that’s closest to the mall entrance, pick a spot that’s further away. You’ll avoid a high-traffic area where you’re more likely to crash with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian.
  • Slow down and be on alert: Drivers should drive slowly in parking lots to have enough time to react to an unexpected vehicle backing out of their parking spot or an unanticipated pedestrian, especially young children, who may be harder to see.
  • Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs: Many parking lots are quite narrow, restricting certain lanes to a single direction. Pay attention to the signs and markings on the road to avoid getting into a crash.
  • Don’t block traffic: Deciding to follow a shopper, then waiting for them to load their car, buckle up and leave, jams up traffic behind you and likely takes you much longer than if you had just found a spot further away. Sitting idle in a lane can leave you vulnerable to a collision, and you could be blocking other drivers who are trying to leave.
  • Let it go: No sense in having a showdown with another driver for a parking spot. Move along, and maybe that good karma will net you something really nice this season.

Statistics

  • About 96,000 crashes occurred in parking lots in 2018. About 4,300 resulted in casualties and 92,000 resulted in damages only.

  • 480 pedestrians were injured in parking lot collisions last year.
  • There were 4,000 reported instances of theft from a vehicle in a parking lot last year

Shopping bag giveaway

As always, ICBC reminds all shoppers to keep their belongings with them or out of sight in their vehicle.

ICBC will be talking to customers about driving safely and handing out a limited quantity of large, reusable shopping bags at the following locations:

  • Highstreet Mall, Abbotsford: Friday, November 29th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ICBC and Police will be handing out bags in the Central Plaza.
  • Pacific Centre, Vancouver: Saturday, November 30th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or until supplies last. Look for volunteers from West End Coal Harbour Community Policing and Granville Community Policing Centres with ICBC, handing out bags at the Easy Park Parking Lot.
  • Coquitlam Centre Mall, Coquitlam: Saturday, December 6th from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ICBC and RCMP will be handing out bags near the food court.
  • Pine Centre Mall, Prince George: Thursday, December 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ICBC and Operation Red Nose’s mascot, Rudy the reindeer, will be handing out bags at the main entrance.

* 2018 vehicle claims data. Rounded to the nearest thousand.

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