The National Safety Council recently announced that parking lots may be much more dangerous than we thought.

The NSC noted that 2 out of every 3 drivers may be pulling into shopping centers distracted; 1 in every 5 accidents occur in parking lots.

With the holidays approaching, now is the busiest shopping time of year, and a good time for a safe-driving reminder.

“Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention, “ said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council in a statement.

Drivers should use additional caution this year. Parking lots are filled with blind spots and pedestrians pose an additional hazard. Even though motorists drive a lot slower in parking lots, the low speeds give drivers a false sense of security. Many drivers add distractions into the mix, believing they can multi-task safely in a shopping center environment.

Participants of the NSC study said they would do the following activities while driving through parking lots:

  • Program GPS (63%)
  • Send and receive emails (50%)
  • Use social media (52%)
  • Take photos or watch videos (49%)
  • Use the internet (43%)
  • Video chat (42%)

There is a lot of car and pedestrian traffic in parking lots, and drivers need to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Distracted walkers already pose a threat—couple that with distracted drivers and it’s no wonder that more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages each year.

This holiday season, remember to just drive and use extra caution in shopping centers.

Read more at CBS News.

Source: National Safety Council