The busiest shopping season of the year is here: the three short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to the crowds in the stores, we’re facing more traffic in store and mall parking lots as well.
And that means an increased risk of auto accidents.
Here are some tips from AAA on how to survive those holiday shopping expeditions.
Head for the side door, not the main entrance. Most people want to be as close to the main entrance of the mall or stores as possible. But most malls have several entrances farther away that are likely to be less crowded. Choose one of these and you’ll find less traffic and more convenient spaces.
Aim for the outfield. Outlying areas have more spaces, lighter traffic and a lower risk of collision. Plus, a little extra walking can be good for us, especially with all the holiday treats around. The trade-off for parking farther away is that the spaces may not be as secure or well lit. The spaces themselves might also be narrower, making it difficult to open your car door or pull out of the space easily.
See and be seen. It’s a good idea to use your headlights in parking lots and garages at all times. According to AAA, research shows that, even in daytime, keeping your headlights on makes your car more visible and reduces your crash risk.
Don’t put yourself in a tight spot. Avoid parking between a pair of tall SUVs or minivans where it might be difficult for you to back out of the space. If you can’t see well enough to back out safely, ask a passenger or bystander for help.
Don’t back out. If possible, avoid backing out of a space by either backing into it or driving forward through two spaces that are nose to nose. In some places, however, backing into spaces and moving traffic is illegal and can impede traffic flow, doing more harm than good.