The day after Thanksgiving is the “official” kickoff for Christmas shopping, and it’s just around the corner! With so many shoppers hitting the stores to score great deals and find the perfect gifts for loved ones, it’s no surprise that the holiday season is prime time for traffic and parking lot accidents. Because we want to help make your season “merry and bright,” and not bogged down by traffic accidents and safety issues, we’ve compiled a list of tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones this season.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
People are in a hurry during the holidays. As drivers hurry from one location to the next, they may be paying less attention to what’s going on around them. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you practice defensive driving and stay aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to traffic patterns and be aware of cars slowing down or stopping suddenly to make a turn into a parking lot or parking spot. Maintain a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.
Use Back-Up Cameras and Mirrors
Parking lots will be extremely busy during late November through December. Never assume that it’s safe for you to back out of a parking spot without using your mirrors. If possible, also make use of back-up cameras to maximize your visibility and awareness as you pull out. Even if you have back-up cameras or a rear cross-traffic alert system, you should still make use of your mirrors and cameras, and be sure to check your blind spots. Testing by AAA has discovered that when a vehicle is parked between two larger vehicles, these types of alert systems are prone to failure. Rely on ALL of your senses and all of your equipment to maximize safety and minimize the risk of hitting another car, person, or even a stray shopping cart.
Consider Backing In
You might consider backing into a parking space to avoid having to back out into traffic when you leave the store. That being said, be sure to only back into a space when the parking lot isn’t too hectic so that you can focus on backing in safely and without feeling rushed.
Yield to Pedestrians
While in a hurry to nab a primo parking spot and get inside the store, you may neglect to pay as much attention to pedestrians as you should. Parking lots are very dangerous places, as people can walk in front of or behind your car unexpectedly, or children can dart out in front of you at any time. Drive slowly and always give pedestrians the right-of-way.
Pay Attention to the Forecast
Winter storms can come on quickly and suddenly, so it’s important that you keep tabs on the weather forecast when doing your holiday shopping. No sale is worth the risk of driving in extremely slippery or icy conditions, or on a day when visibility is dangerously low. If you are out at the stores when a weather advisory comes up, be sure to wrap up your shopping, head home, and stay off the roads until it becomes safe.
Use Hands-Free Devices
Although we always recommend avoiding the use of electronics while driving, if you absolutely must use the phone or a similar device, it is imperative that you utilize Bluetooth speakers or hands-free technology. This will minimize distractions and will allow you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
If you or a loved one is injured in a holiday shopping traffic accident, you’re not alone. The attorneys at Mintz Law Firm have the knowledge and skill required to fight for you. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.