AAA Oklahoma Offers Mall Parking Lot Survival Tips On Black Friday

Wednesday, November 26th 2014, 11:44 am
By: News 9

The parking lots of malls and shopping centers in Oklahoma City will be busy during the Black Friday shopping frenzy. AAA Oklahoma offers several tips to help you navigate the lots and make better, safer decisions to protect your cars and yourself. 

  • Eliminate distractions. Turn off or stow cell phones and set up navigation and GPS devices before you begin driving. · Watch for pedestrians. Remain cautious of people walking in crosswalks and moving in between and behind cars. Be alert especially for children who are not always paying attention.
  • Be a smart walker. Use walkways and crosswalks, if available. If you must walk in the traffic lanes, be alert for subtle cues – such as vehicle exhaust or reverse lights – that signal a car is about to pull out.
  • Head for the side door. At the mall, everyone wants to park near the stores, especially near the main entrance. But most malls have secondary entrances on the sides, and those entrances usually have less traffic and more convenient parking spaces.
  • Learn to play the outfield. Outlying areas also have more spaces, lighter traffic and a lower risk of collision.
  • See and be seen. Use your headlights when scouring parking garages for spaces, even in the daytime.
  • Don't put yourself in a tight spot. Avoid parking between a pair of tall SUVs or minivans where it might be hard for you to back out of the space. If you can't see well enough to back out safely, get help from one of your passengers.
  • Refrain from reverse. If possible, avoid backing out of a space by either backing into it or “pulling through” two spaces that are open nose-to-nose.
  • Don't tempt thieves. Place packages and shopping bags in the trunk so they are not visible to the bad guys. It takes a thief just seconds to smash a window and steal your shopping loot.
  • Buckle up. Even a low-speed collision can result in injuries. Make sure that everyone is strapped in a seat belt or child car seat while the vehicle is in motion, even if it's just a short trip to another part of the parking lot.

“People are often injured in fender-benders and collisions caused by drivers who are inattentive or who aggressively cut off others in attempts to get better parking spaces,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Don't let safety take a back seat as you rush to do last-minute shopping.”