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Some tips for staying safe in parking lots

This time of year, we can't always find a parking space close to the building we're going into. We may have to walk some distance. If it's dark, snow is coming down around us or we're juggling multiple packages, it can be difficult to see every car that's pulling out from their parking space around us. Too often, the driver doesn't see us.

Vehicles are typically traveling at relatively slow speeds in parking lots. However, if you're struck by one, the results can be devastating. Pedestrians who are struck by cars and larger vehicles like SUVs can suffer catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries.

People should, of course, drive slowly, avoid distractions and look in all directions as they move through parking lots. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. A driver may be finishing up a phone call, programming their GPS or selecting the latest installment of their favorite podcast or getting their kids to settle down as they're pulling out of their spot or heading towards the exit. Don't assume they see you just because they should.

It's essential to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Put the phone and AirPods away. You need to see and hear what's happening around you. It's not just distracted drivers you need to be aware of. Dark and/or deserted parking lots can attract people who are up to no good.

You can also help stay safe by parking as close to the building as possible. If you can't, at least try to avoid an area where there are few or no other vehicles. If it's dark (or getting there), park in a well-lit area -- preferably directly under a light.

If you have packages or other valuables in your vehicle, put them out of sight. If you can't fit them in the trunk, place them on the floor with a blanket or something covering them.

If you're injured by a driver in a parking lot, it's essential to make sure that you get the money you need for medical care, physical therapy and other expenses. If you're the victim of a violent crime because a parking lot lacked appropriate lighting or security, it may be possible to hold the property owners liable. Whatever the situation, if you need help seeking justice and compensation, an experienced attorney can help.

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