While many of us think about the holidays as a joyous time to celebrate faith and family, it can also be a season when distractions overwhelm drivers as well as pedestrians while venturing out to their local shopping centers.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that hundreds of people are killed and thousands more injured in parking lots and garages during this time of the year. Insurance companies say claims skyrocket starting on Black Friday and stay above average during the holidays.

 A season of distractions

Drivers and pedestrians experience countless distractions, including expansive to-do lists for finding gifts and are usually in a hurry to get to the next stop. The NSC recently surveyed drivers about their activities while moving through parking lots and structures. The results are alarming:

  • 63% report adjusting their GPS and climate control systems while driving
  • 56% say they routinely read, type and send text messages
  • 52% use social media
  • 50% monitor their email accounts, reading and sending emails
  • 49% watch videos on their phones and some take pictures while driving

Don’t rely solely on technology

While car manufacturers offer many new gadgets designed to help drivers avoid crashes, NSC analysis shows 9% of all pedestrian deaths are the result of backup incidents. The agency offers these safety tips:

  • Don’t rely on backup cameras or sensors, look over your shoulder and use your mirrors when leaving a parking space
  • Do a 360-degree inspection of your vehicle to note low-lying objects and check for other people nearby
  • Pull through your parking space, if possible, so you are heading forward into traffic when you leave

Protect yourself if injured by a distracted driver

Last year was the deadliest in three decades for pedestrian deaths in the United States. More than 6,000 were killed, and the rate is increasing every year. Adding to that are thousands of people who require extensive medical treatment for long-lasting or permanent injuries due to someone else’s negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney here in Tennessee will aggressively protect your interests and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.