Getting Hit By a Car Inside a Building Happens More Often Than You Think

Every day, 60 cars hit buildings. If we do the math, that's 21,900 buildings hit every year. 500 people a year die from car collisions inside buildings and another 4,000 sustain injuries.

So what gives? You'd think something as large as a building would be pretty easy to avoid. It's not like they're hard to see.

Maybe you think, "I bet old people hit most of those buildings. They really shouldn't be driving."

While people 60 or older do hit the majority of the number of buildings involved in collisions, older people only make up 40% of the accidents involving buildings.

People under age 60 make up the other 60%, pretty evenly split between under age 30 (29%) and between ages 30 and 60 (31%).

photo: Tessa Hall

A lot of the accidents happen because of operator error. In the case of over-60's you see a lot of mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal. In under-60's, distracted driving plays a much bigger role.

Someone might've been on the phone, distracted by the kids, or maybe had a late night and isn't as with it as they would be normally.

Something else plays into cars hitting buildings: where the building sits in relation to the road and/or parking spaces.

I took the photo above during a road trip a while back. The convenience store was REALLY close to a two lane road. When the 4Runner in the photo collided with a dump truck, it got slammed into the corner of the building.

Even more dangerous? Parking lots.

Everyone's looking for their prime parking spot and don't notice pesky things like pedestrians or other vehicles maneuvering in and out of spaces. I'm always on highest alert in parking lots and parking garages.

So what do shopping centers do to try to discourage cars from crashing into the building? They put up giant barriers, usually made out of concrete.

You might think those bright red concrete balls in front of some Target stores are for decoration.

They're not.

Those balls (and more often concrete poles covered in plastic sheaths) exist so vehicles get hung up on them before they go crashing through the front doors or the people walking through them.

So, the next time you go to the store, try to be extra aware that other people...aren't.