When it comes to hitting the shopping mall during the holiday season, it can be a real jungle out there. Parking lots are accidents waiting to happen as they fill up with cars and people, including thieves who are only too happy to steal your Christmas out of your car. So it goes without saying there are a lot of things to be on the lookout for, from your personal safety and that of other pedestrians, to the safety of your vehicle and its precious unwrapped contents.
Parking Lot Safety
According to the National Safety Council, tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garage structures each year. So here’s what you need to do to minimize risks in parking lots during the especially dangerous holiday season:
- Don’t be distracted behind the wheel. Put down your phone and stay alert to what is going on around you. Also don’t use your cellphone when you’re walking through a parking lot. If you’re looking down at your phone it makes you an easy target.
- Keep your eyes peeled for children and other pedestrians both in and out of crosswalks.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Don’t squeeze yourself into a parking space. You could end up with door dings or have trouble getting in and out.
- Don’t park between two tall vehicles. It makes it difficult to see when you are backing out of the space.
- Don’t just rely on technology, i.e. your rearview backup camera. Actually look over your shoulder and also use your side mirrors.
- Keep your seatbelt fastened. A lot of accidents happen in parking lots, so a seatbelt is just as important as if you were on the road.
- Practice parking lot etiquette. Be a courteous driver to avoid any confrontations with frazzled, impatient drivers.
- Remember where you parked. It’s easy to do if you take a picture of where you parked with your smartphone. Some apps can also help you track it down.
Parking lots are also a place frequented by thieves, especially during the holiday season. Don’t assume because there is a police presence at many malls that you or your packages are safe because they have a wide area to monitor. Always stay alert and note your surroundings, plus follow these tips:
- Stow your bags in the trunk to keep them out of sight.
- Don’t make it easy for a thief to snatch and grab your purse or shopping bags. Make sure they are secure in your hand.
- Always lock your doors. If you think you forgot, you can do this remotely now from many vehicle apps.
- Have your keys out and ready when you get to your vehicle.
- Never leave your car running with the keys in it while you’re loading or unloading packages from the trunk.
- Don’t open your car door or window to a stranger.
A TREND we are seeing in DFW is thieves talking to you as you get into your car, calling your attention to something in the rear of your car. When you go to look, a second perp grabs valuables out of your car, especially looking for purses. It is best to get your package loaded ASAP, get in your car and lock the doors, and don’t roll your window down for strangers.
Following these safety tips will help minimize your risks in terms of parking lot accidents and keeping any Christmas grinches at bay.