MUTCD does not apply to parking lots, as stated in MUTCD general FAQs“The Introduction of the 2009 MUTCD and the changes to the Code of Federal Regulations (23 CFR 655.603(a)) that were adopted on December 16, 2009, make it clear that the MUTCD does not apply to parking areas and driving aisles within parking areas, either privately or publicly owned.”
Negligent driving, the often seen competition to grab the best parking spot, limited visibility around parked cars, ignoring parking lot traffic signs, and pedestrians walking just about anywhere but on set and marked pathways are the common causes of parking lot accidents.
Additionally, poorly maintained lots with inadequate lighting, lack of proper parking lot traffic signage, and puddles, potholes, and pavement/pathway cracks and crevices further make these parking spaces unsafe and accident-prone.
Staying alert and obeying parking lot traffic signs can go a long way in preventing parking lot accidents. Drivers should avoid using their cellphones when pulling in and out of parking, stay in lanes and avoid overtaking other drivers, and look out for pedestrians, who should walk in designated pathways and avoid crowding. It is also a good idea to choose a well-lit parking spot, preferably closer to the establishment/entrance, and keep the vehicle doors locked, windows up to prevent thefts and robberies.
A good parking lot design with clearly marked lanes, pathways, and parking spaces, clearly visible parking lot signs, and adequate lighting also contributes significantly to creating a safe and secure parking space.