various cars in packed in a parking lot

Parking Lot Safety for the Holiday Season

Tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garages annually, according to the National Safety Council, and that risk goes up during the holiday season when shoppers are distracted by checking off their gift lists and rushing to get the best deals.

If you find yourself losing focus – or losing your mind – while rounding the lot searching for a spot this holiday season, keep this advice in mind.

Buying a New Car

Tips and tricks to get you through every step of buying a new car, whatever “new” means to you.

Download Now!

Holiday Parking Safety Tips for Drivers

Focus on driving. Your main focus should be on parking lot safety, not finding a great parking spot.

Keep it moving. Follow traffic signs inside the parking lot and avoid sudden stops, which could get your vehicle rear-ended. If you do stop, scan for pedestrians and cars before you accelerate.

Park farther away. Areas close to the store are typically the most congested. Parking farther away will also decrease the odds that someone is waiting for your spot when you get to your vehicle. Just make sure the area is well-lit if you are shopping at night or early in the morning.

Back into spots. Backing out of a parking spot is difficult and can be dangerous, especially when you’re between two large vehicles. Backup incidents make up 9% of pedestrians deaths in parking lots, according to the National Safety Council. Backing into a spot can make it easier and safer when it’s time to leave, just make sure to check that the spots are not marked “head in only.”

Avoid road rage. Incessant honking, yelling and spot stealing are all very aggravating, but try not to let your emotions get the better of you. Don’t escalate a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver will do. Be tolerant and forgiving and remember that the best “revenge” against someone who is driving aggressively is not to respond or engage.

Holiday Parking Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Make yourself visible. About 74% of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur when it’s dark outside, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wear bright clothing and walk in well-lit areas if you’re shopping early or at night. Before crossing in front of a vehicle, try to make eye contact with the driver so you know he or she can see you.

Ignore your phone. Keep your cellphone – and anything else that could be considered a distraction – in your pocket.

Pick safe spots. Walk on sidewalks and use crosswalks whenever possible. If you need to walk in the road, walk facing traffic. Do not dart across the street wherever you feel like it.

Accidents happen. Learn what to do if you get sideswiped and what is considered a hit-and-run, and know you’re well-covered with auto insurance from AAA.

4 Thoughts on “Parking Lot Safety for the Holiday Season

  1. To avoid backing into a parking spot or backing out of one, I always look for a spot I can just pull forward into. I chuckle at other drivers who could pull forward but don’t since it means a shorter walk to the store. The other point is to drive slowly in a parking lot as there may be children running around.

  2. AAA I agree with your tips. I always Back into spots. Its so much easier and safer when driving out. People who can’t back into a spot, then can’t back up at all. You will have to back out of your parking space which is even worse, so why not just back into your parking spot. People that is elderly or folks that gets distracted are the problem. If you are a licensed driver, then you should be able to Back into a parking spot and make it safer for yourself and others when driving out. If you can’t do it, then go take a driving class to refresh your driving skills. Majority of people just don’t pay attention and causes accidents that don’t need to happen.

  3. When I back out of any parking space, I turn on my flashers and then proceed very slowly. This is especially helpful if I am between 2 super large vehicles. Most people stop for me.

  4. I am concerned about the statement of backing into the parking space, most elderly people can’t do this well. You generally have a car right behind you annoyed that you found the spot first and do not wish to wait for you to back in. I myself lived in the city and was efficient at backing up the length of the street to get a spot but today not so much. So many people can’t parallel park let alone back into a spot in a parking garage. Just my opinion and thought as to what I see so I avoid the mall’s and shop early in the day. Believe I could back into the spot but see many cannot. Thanks for all you good tips and concerns.

Leave A Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and may or may not be published at the editor’s discretion. Only comments that are relevant to the article and add value to the Your AAA community will be considered. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Subscribe to Your AAA Newsletter

Sign up and receive updates for all of the latest articles on automotive, travel, money, lifestyle and so much more!