AAA’s Parking Lot Survival Guide
Tips to help pedestrians and motorists navigate parking lots safely this holiday season

This week unofficially kicks off the holiday shopping season!  That means shoppers may have to endure traffic in the parking lots of malls, which can be overwhelming for anyone heading out for some last minute bargains.  AAA recommends that drivers exhibit the holiday spirit by safely sharing the lot with pedestrians.

“It is easy to become distracted by the hustle and bustle of the season, but traffic safety should be at the top of everybody’s list,” according to Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs.  “According to AAA data, in 2016, 29 percent of all vehicle collisions took place in parking lots.”

While parking lot collisions may occur at slow speeds, even a crash wherein nobody is injured can put a damper on the holiday spirit- not to mention, people’s wallets.

Tips for Drivers this Holiday Shopping Season:

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 further will help you avoid a possible collision, and you’ll likely face less presser from impatient shoppers 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 seatbelt. Even at a low speed, injuries can occur. Make sure all passengers are strapped in while the car is moving.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.