In the past week I have had two very close calls in parking lots, one as a pedestrian and one as a driver. Both cases involved people talking on their cell phones while driving.
The most recent one was this afternoon in the Target parking lot. Here is a diagram to illustrate my story:
(1) I walked down the edge of the parking lot, bound for my car, which was far from the store as per my usual parking habits. (2) A large SUV suddenly backed out of a parking space directly toward me. I moved against the back of the car to my left, realizing the SUV driver did not see me. I still felt safe, for the only way she would hit me was if she came within six inches of the car I was against. Then I realized she very well might hit the car, pinning me between vehicles in the process. This is bad. Just as I prepared to dive clear of the disaster zone the driver slammed on her brakes, lurching to a stop about twelve inches from me. She was so intent on her conversation she never saw me.
I continued toward my car as she drove away. (3) As I walked to the next row of cars she suddenly accelerated and cut through the row above me with a left turn. I jumped back into the row. If I had continued my route there is no doubt in my mind she would have hit me. And she still NEVER SAW ME. As she drove by she was looking across the parking lot.
(4) As I walked to my car I said out loud: “It appears I have become a target in the Target parking lot.” I laughed. Not a little chuckle, but a real laugh.
The previous incident happened last Friday around midnight at the Wegman’s parking lot. A driver was cutting directly across the parking lot, driving across rows at about 20 mph. I saw her coming across the lot and thought there was no way she would continue right into my path, so I kept driving down the lane I was in. Then I realized she doesn’t see me. I stopped very suddenly, leaving room for her to drive in front of me. She then saw me and slammed on the brakes. Her car shuddered, anti-lock brakes in action, and stopped about three feet short of the lane I was driving in (so I could have just kept going). She was on a cell phone, though after stopping she lowered the phone to try to hide it, too late.
So here are my two requests:
1. Don’t talk on your phone while negotiating parking lots.
2. If you’re going to cut across rows in a parking lot treat the parking lines like a stop sign and check to make sure the lane is clear.