Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Backing Out Of A Parking Spot
November 12, 2014
Question: I was backing out of a parking spot and couldn’t see due to a large van parked next to me. Even though I was backing very slowly and carefully, I was hit by another car. Who’s at fault in this crash?
Answer: Technically, the driver who will be held at fault in a situation like this will be the driver who is backing out of the parking spot.
In looking at the Florida Statutes, the law simply says “The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.” That puts the responsibility of preventing a crash on the shoulders of the person backing out of the parking spot.
However, that being said, the true blame can probably be equally shared among the two drivers. Florida law also says the law doesn’t relieve anyone “from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his or her reckless disregard for the safety of others.”
If the other driver was driving too fast or not paying attention, he or she shares in the blame. When driving in a parking lot, drivers should drive slowly, be on the lookout for anyone who may back out in front of them, and be prepared to stop quickly to avoid a crash. Even though the other driver may share in the blame, the person backing out will probably be the only one to get a ticket for failure to use due caution.
Remember that no one has the right-of-way. The law only tries to determine who should have yielded the right-of-way to another driver. The person backing out should yield the right-of-way to the drivers in the travel lanes but those drivers in the travel lanes should also be prepared to yield to prevent a crash.