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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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Parking Lots & City Streets

Parking Lots

One of the likeliest places to be involved in a property-damage only accident is in a parking lot. Accidents are common in parking lots because:

  • drivers are not paying attention to safe driving
  • drivers must back out of parking spots
  • drivers do not think they need to follow the rules of the road in parking lots

Post office parking lots usually have the highest incidence of accidents, because they have the quickest turnover with cars parked often for less than 5 minutes.

Some drivers seem to suspend their good judgment when looking for a parking space. They consider the traffic signs and road markings such as speed limits and STOP signs to be optional in parking lots because they think on private property they are not subject to enforcement. Others drivers ignore the traffic lanes and cut diagonally across the lot. However, you can be cited for driving unsafely in public parking lots by law enforcement, just like on public roadways. Remember to obey the rules of the road when driving in parking lots.

Pedestrians are also at high risk in parking lots because they must walk in the traffic lanes. Pay extra attention for pedestrians, particularly small children, when driving in parking lots and pulling out of parking spaces.

The best way to avoid an accident in a parking lot is to be aware of everything all around your vehicle. Scan for cars that might be cutting diagonally across the lot and for pedestrians who may dart out from between cars. Drive slower and obey all the usual vehicle laws, signs, and pavement markings when driving in a parking lot.

City Streets

Urban roadways are more dangerous than open roadways for a number of reasons:

  • urban roadways have the highest number of intersections, which are where accidents are the most likely to happen
  • there is an increased likelihood of children and other pedestrians crossing or entering the roadway in urban areas
  • vehicles in urban areas are generally not just driving straight-- they are merging, turning, stopping, or making other maneuvers which can be hazardous
  • parked vehicles and other objects obstruct your view of the roadway in urban areas

Driving alongside other vehicles in urban traffic can be dangerous. Do not drive alongside other vehicles or in the blind spots of their drivers (to the rear sides of other vehicles). You should also avoid driving in the lane closest to opposing traffic when lanes are undivided.

Parked vehicles in urban areas can create a situation which is hazardous because they:

  • may suddenly pull out from a parking space or the side of the road
  • obscure vehicles pulling out from alleys and driveways
  • have occupants who may suddenly open doors or exit on left side of parked vehicles.

Lesson Summary


  

Lesson 9 Quiz


You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

  1. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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  2. If you have a tire blowout:


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  3. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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  4. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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  5. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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