Is It Illegal to Drive Through Parking Lots? 

In heavy traffic or when stopped at a red light, it can be tempting to cut through a parking lot to save time. While it may seem like a good idea, this is dangerous and even illegal in Texas. Here are some reasons you should not cut through parking lots in Texas. 

Cutting Through Parking Lots in Texas

Cutting through a parking lot to avoid traffic or a traffic light is often referred to as: 

  • Rat running
  • Cut-through driving
  • Rodent running

Many states, including Texas, have laws making this type of driving illegal. The Texas Transportation Code makes it unlawful to cross a driveway, parking lot, business entrance, or residential entrance without stopping. 

Doing so is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of $25-$99 for the first offense and $100-$200 for the second offense. 

Exceptions to Cut-Through Driving Rules 

While cutting through parking lots to avoid traffic is illegal, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

Drivers can cut through a parking lot: 

  • In the event of an emergency. For example, if you’re trying to get someone to the hospital. 
  • To avoid an accident. If you can safely go through a parking lot to avoid getting into an accident, that is not considered illegal cut-through driving. 

Other than these exceptions, drivers can be stopped, ticketed, and fined if they cut through a parking lot in Texas. 

What Are the Dangers of Cutting Through Parking Lots? 

While no one wants a traffic violation, the bigger concern with parking lot cutting is that it’s dangerous. Parking lots are busy, high-traffic places, and they’re not designed to have additional traffic coming through them. 

Cutting through a parking lot, particularly at high speeds, puts drivers at risk of: 

  • Causing a car accident
  • Being hit by another vehicle
  • Hitting shopping carts, poles, or other inanimate objects
  • Hitting pedestrians or cyclists

Because of the risks associated with parking lot cutting, this is something drivers should never do. It often seems like a good idea when you’re stuck at a busy light or backed up in traffic. However, saving a few minutes is not worth putting yourself or others at risk. 

What to Do If You’re Hit By Someone Cutting Through a Parking Lot

If you’re hit by someone cutting through a parking lot, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. When you’re injured due to another party’s negligence, they are responsible for compensating you for all damages you incur. 

This includes economic damages – like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages – and non-economic damages – like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and decreased quality of life. 

If you’re involved in a parking lot accident, you should: 

  • Seek medical treatment for any injuries. Ensuring that all injured parties get the medical care they need should be your priority. 
  • Contact the police. You should report these types of accidents, even those that take place on private property.
  • Get the contact information, insurance information, and license plate number of all other drivers and involved parties. 
  • Get the contact information from any witnesses. 
  • Call your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident. 

You should also contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you get compensation for all of your damages. 

Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured in a Parking Lot Accident

If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Antonio, Texas, and need legal help, contact our San Antonio car accident lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

George Salinas Injury Lawyers
6243 I-10 Ste. 955, San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 225-0909