Drivers out festive shopping in British Columbia, Canada, are being urged to take extra care when parking as figures show about 96,000 crashes happened in parking lots in the province last year.

The call comes from the Institute Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) which receives hundreds of thousands of claims every year, with vehicle damage costs totaling $1.33 billion in 2018 alone.

Last year there were 4,300 car occupants injured in crashes in parking lots and 480 pedestrians injured.

The ICBC is encouraging drivers to be courteous and have a bit more patience during this time of year and follow these tips:

  • The rules of the road still apply, even on private property where the public is invited to park. Don’t use your phone while driving, even in parking lots.
  • Have your car facing out in your parking spot: This position is safest for drivers because it helps you avoid the risk of reversing into a lane with potential blind spots when leaving.
  • Park further away, if you can, to avoid a high-traffic area.
  • Slow down and be on alert.
  • Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs.
  • Don’t block traffic: Deciding to follow a shopper, then waiting for them to load their car, buckle up and leave, jams up traffic behind you and likely takes you much longer than if you had just found a spot further away.