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Parking Lot Safety for the Holiday Season

Backing into a parking spot can make it easier when it’s time to leave.

(Photo: (antpkr / iStock / Thinkstock))

Crashes in parking lots account for 14 percent of all auto insurance claims, according to AAA. Here are some tips to stay safe in parking lots this holiday shopping season.

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, said John Paul, senior manager of traffic safety for AAA Northeast. If you do stop, scan for pedestrians and cars before you accelerate, he said.

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. Each year, about 50 pedestrians are killed when drivers back up in parking lots and parking garages, according to the National Safety Council. Backing into a spot can make it easier and safer when it’s time to leave.

Safety tips for pedestrians

Make yourself visible: About 75 percent 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.

Sometimes accidents happen. If one does, know you’re covered with auto insurance from AAA. Get a free quote at

Top photo: Backing into a parking spot can make it easier when it’s time to leave. (antpkr / iStock / Thinkstock)

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