CHARLOTTE, N.C. (December 20, 2018) As the rush to check everyone off of your holiday shopping list continues, AAA Carolinas is warning motorists and shoppers alike to be extra cautious in busy parking lots.
Particularly during the holiday season, mall parking lots present unique challenges with heavy pedestrian traffic and increased congestion, not to mention the added layer of drivers distracted by their shopping lists or frustrated by their attempts to find an empty spot in a packed lot.
“Parking lots can be danger zones, especially during the holiday season,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “Exercise caution behind the wheel and don’t let minor frustrations like not being able to find a parking spot escalate into road rage.”
Though exact numbers are uncertain because parking lots are private property, an estimated 50,000 collisions occur each year in parking lots, resulting in 60,000 injuries and 500 deaths nationwide.
To avoid collisions this holiday season, AAA recommends that motorists and shoppers:
· Adhere to the rules of the road, even in parking lots.
· Always use your turn signal to indicate where you plan to go for pedestrians and other motorists.
· Park further away and walk to avoid the congestion of the closer spots.
· Never drive diagonally through a parking lot or through empty spaces – only go in the direction the lot indicates.
· Never drive distracted. There will be heavy foot traffic and other drivers around you in a hurry to get where they are going.
· If possible, back into your parking spot. This makes pulling out much easier as you do not have to reverse into a congested area.
· Use “ground viewing” to search for dangers at the ground level, such as shadows between cars that may indicate the presence of pedestrians, small children or animals.
· Be extra mindful of stop signs and crosswalks as there are many pedestrians around.
· Exercise patience and understanding. After all, it is the holiday season.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
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