That shopping trip beginning on Black Friday and continuing until the holidays may be dangerous. The risk of a personal injury accident in parking lot and garage structure crashes grows during this season.

The number of accident claims grow from the day after Thanksgiving until the end of the holiday shopping season, according to auto insurance companies. The number of actual accidents is probably much higher because many minor accidents and fender benders are not reported.

There are several reasons for this problem. Like highways, distracted driving occurs with too much frequency in these locations. A National Safety Council poll indicated that 66 percent of drivers in this country admitted to making phone calls while driving through parking lots.

Additionally, 63 percent of motorists said they program their GPS systems, 56 percent text and drive, 52 percent use social media, 50 percent email and 49 percent of drivers watch videos or take pictures. Fifty-three percent of adult drivers engage in personal grooming.

During this season, drivers and pedestrians are using rushing from place to place and accomplish tasks. Drivers may engage in improper lane changes, cutting across lots and disobeying stop and no-parking signs.

Not taking the time to look for pedestrians while backing up is another major danger. An NSC analysis of government statistics showed that backup accidents caused nine percent of pedestrian deaths in parking lots. Backup cameras on vehicles are not entirely effective if the camera lens is obstructed while other monitoring systems may not detect motorcycles or pedestrians.

Parking lot injuries do not always involve vehicles. Poorly maintained areas can increase the odds of injury through inadequate pavement striping, potholes, cracks, insufficient signage, debris, puddles, ice and inadequate lighting. These conditions are major tripping and falling hazards which are common in parking lots.

Large parking lots, particularly in shopping malls, also have more crime. Inadequate video surveillance and unrestricted pedestrian traffic increases this risk.

A person who suffers an injury in a parking lot because of a motorist’s negligence or unsafe conditions may be entitled to compensation. They should seek legal representation to gather evidence and pursue this right.