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In preparation for a certain shopping-frenzied Friday and beyond, the American Automobile Association (AAA) shared their trove of tips for navigating parking lots safely.
“Don’t let the business of the holiday season distract you from your top priority behind the wheel — traffic safety,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central. “A large portion of vehicle collisions take place in parking lots every year, so make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.”
AAA’s sage advice to holiday shoppers is as follows:
- Drive slowly inside parking lots and garages. Getting that great deal is not worth the risks of speeding around to find a space.
- Stay off your mobile device and always watch for pedestrians and other vehicles. Remember, they may not be paying attention to their surroundings.
- Back out slowly from your parking space, especially if you’re near large vehicles. Pause once you can see beyond the vehicles parked next to you; this allows passing drivers to see you.
- If you feel comfortable doing so, back into your parking space. This means you’ll be able to pull straight out of your spot with better visibility.
- Learn to play the outfield. Outlying areas have more spaces, lighter traffic, and a lower risk of collision. Parking farther away will help you avoid a possible collision, and you’ll likely face less pressure from impatient shoppers trying to find the “perfect” spot.
- See and be seen. Use your headlights when scouring parking garages for spaces — even in the daytime. The light will let other cars see you coming around turns and can make fitting into that tight parking space a little easier.
- Don’t trap yourself. Avoid parking between a pair of tall SUVs or minivans where it might be hard for you to back out of the space. If you can’t see well enough to back out safely, get help from one of your passengers.
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians and small children. Kids can be hard to see in busy parking lots and often make quick, unpredictable movements. When walking to and from the car, hold their hands to keep them safe in traffic.
- Always wear your seat belt. Even at a low speed, injuries can occur. Make sure all passengers are strapped in while the car is moving.