Most people have been trained from their earliest driver’s ed classes that the first thing you should do if you’ve been in an accident is to contact the police. While that is true in most cases – the average American probably is not aware that if you are in an accident in a parking lot and you summon the police – there’s really not much they’re going to be able to do. Why? Because parking lots are consider ‘private property’ not public roadways.
For example, last week a woman claims she was following the arrows that directed her to the exit when another vehicle pulled in front of her. A collision ensued and the police were called.
Unfortunately, the wait was long and the police had to be called a second time before an officer finally arrived an hour later (parking lot accidents without injuries are far down on the list of emergencies in the world of the cops). The police person collected up all the insurance information and driver’s license and after another quarter hour returned all the information to both drivers and reported that there was nothing the police could do because (a) he could not make a determination as to who was at fault and therefore would be unable to issue a citation and (b) PARKING LOTS ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THEREFORE NOT UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT.
This will no doubt result in an insurance nightmare for both drivers. If you are involved in a parking lot accident try to get witnesses to corraborate the incident and take pictures…and call the police anyway – at least it will be on the record.
Dealing with an insurance company with a Texas auto accident claim (given Texas refusal to regulate claims handling by insurers) is no pick-nick even when it clear who is at fault and the office issues a ticket.
Right Of Way Rules In Texas
In Texas we have the rule of yielding the right-of-way to others in certain circumstances. And there are certain circumstances in which giving the right-of-way is required. All drivers in Texas should know and understand the rules, which determine the right-of-way.
The first right-of-way requirement is for intersections controlled by signs and signals and the rule is very simple if there are signs or signals follow them.
The second situation involves driving on a single or 2 Lane Rd. you must yield to vehicles traveling on a divided street or highway or vehicles driving on the roadway with 3 or more lanes. In effect smaller roads yield larger roads.
The third situation is if you’re coming off an unpaved road that intersects with the paved road you should yield to the paved road traffic.
The next situation is where there are intersections that are not controlled by signs or signals and generally you should yield to the right.
Another situation is turning left -if you are turning left you should yield to vehicles coming straight through from the other direction.
When entering or crossing the road from a private roadway or driveway you shall yield the right-of-way to all approaching vehicles and pedestrians.
There are many other situations where right-of-way rules apply in Texas and it is imperative that each license driver knows the rules of the road in order to protect themselves, their families and the other drivers around them.
Much of the material taken for this post came from the Texas drivers handbook which is readily available from the Texas Department Of Public Safety or you can visit the state of Texas DPS website at www.txdps.state.tx.us.