Ready to bag the bargains? Stay safe out there! It isn’t a good deal if you get in trouble at the parking lot. Finding a parking spot to squeeze in at the last minute is not the only challenge ahead. So, before you jump behind the wheel and head to the mall, keep these parking tips in mind.
According to the NSC, parking lots set the stage for tens of thousands of accidents in the country. This results in grievous injuries and at least 2000 deaths annually. It’s not easy to blame anyone – both drivers and pedestrians are often careless. Cellphones are pinned as the major distraction, but poor lighting and maintenance, lack of proper signage, and uneven ground are all culprits. For older adults, even slips and trips on ice or snow are fatal.
Parking lots also become a soft target for criminals. Most shopping mall-related crimes occur in garages. When pedestrian access is not controlled, break-ins become rampant. Inadequate security features like camera surveillance and security staff also increase risks.
The holiday season adds fuel to the fire as people are a lot more distracted. Rushing to grab Black Friday deals, carrying handfuls of packages and bags, checking shopping lists, or hurrying to the next store – there’s too much going on every shopper’s mind. But you can’t cut corners on safety. So, here are a few parking tips to follow when you go holiday shopping again.
Parking Tips for the safest spots
Choosing the right parking space is essential for a worry-free shopping spree. So, let’s get street parking out of the way straight away! Holiday shopping isn’t anything like running a quick errand. Keeping track of time limits and expiring meters will only add to the stress. Avoid the hassle altogether and leave your car at a secure parking lot or garage near the store or mall.
If you are visiting multiple shops, find a centrally located parking lot. Pre-book your spot to park your car quickly and get on with your holiday shopping. Look for upgraded security features like camera surveillance when you choose a parking lot. Parking apps or websites like Way.com will help you choose better – check out user reviews and ratings for each parking lot to find the best options.
In a mall, make sure to park in a well-lit space along with other cars. When you hide the car away in a corner, other shoppers might not spot it, but the thieves won’t miss it. It is easier to break into an unattended vehicle away from the camera’s eyes. Which reminds us – check whether the parking lot has security surveillance. Use other parking lots near the mall if the on-site parking lot looks unsafe.
Lock it up and check it twice
Many people forget to close their windows and sometimes even lock the car doors after parking. It won’t be a surprise if this happens to you during the holiday season. In a rush to get to the store or stow away packages, you might miss the details. Stay calm and double-check your car locks before leaving.
Valuables left inside the car and visible from outside are also risk factors. Phones, laptops, wallets, and bags left on the car seats or dashboard serve as an invitation for break-ins. Even GPS devices and phone mounts aren’t safe. Store your belongings in the trunk or at least under a seat if you forget to leave them at home.
Putting away shopping bags in your car and returning to the store is something else to be avoided. You may be watched, and your car becomes an instant target for lawbreakers. Find out if the mall offers storage services if you can’t carry around all your shopping bags. Or bring a friend or family member along with you and share the load.
Parking Lot Safety Tips
Stay off your phone – no texting or browsing. Whether you are in the driver’s seat or walking back to your car, stay focused.
As per an NSC report, 9% of fatalities in parking lot accidents result from distractions while backing up. Backup cameras show you only what’s right behind your car. Do not leave it up to technology to keep you and others safe – check the mirrors and use your senses to ensure there are no obstacles in your path. Take a quick walk around your car before backing up to check for any objects on the ground.
Do not cut across lanes in your hurry to get out of the parking lot or get into your designated spot. Make sure to drive slowly and use the signal lights before you turn. Switching on your car’s daytime running lights or headlights is recommended in dimly lit garages – it will be easy for other cars and pedestrians to see your vehicle approaching.
This is an extension to the ‘no distractions’ holiday shopping parking lot safety tip. Check your surroundings when you are alone in a parking lot – lookout for anything strange. If you forgot where you parked the car, don’t wander around looking confused. Take a moment to think about it before entering the garage and have your keys ready in hand. If you are approached by a stranger and sense danger, hurry back to the store or seek help.
Once you put away your bags and enter the car, lock the doors and drive away. Sitting around in a parking lot, checking your phone or bills, make you an easy target. The best way to avoid all these risks is to park at a secure garage with other people and cars moving in and out frequently.
Find quick and affordable holiday parking
You are already on a bargain hunt, so why not save a few bucks on parking too? On-site parking lots at malls are either crowded or unsafe during the holiday season. And unless you score discounts with parking validation, the drive-up rates are often steep during rush hours. On the other hand, off-site parking lots are already offering discounts on online reservations. Pre-book your spot for the lowest rates anywhere in the city.
Why should you park away from the store or mall?
- Can enter and exit the parking lot quickly as car and pedestrian traffic will be lesser
- Easier to find a spot and backup with fewer pedestrians and cars to worry about
- More time for you to peacefully load your car without the honking encouragement from other cars vying for your spot.
- Get instant access to the garage and a guaranteed parking spot with pre-booked parking
- Pay lower hourly or daily rates when you book in advance using parking apps or websites