10 tips to survive Black Friday parking

Consumer Reports News: November 25, 2011 08:08 AM

The latest Consumer Reports holiday shopping poll finds that 44 percent of Americans will do all of their shopping at actual stores this holiday season. And that could make a traditional holiday headache—finding a parking spot at the local mall or store—even more of a hassle this year.

According to the International Parking Institute in Fredricksburg, Penn., there an estimated 100 million public parking spaces in the U.S. And to help gift shoppers keep their holiday parking stress levels down, the IPI offers these 10 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Exercise Caution When Backing Out. 25 percent of parking lot accidents are caused by backing moves. Watch for other drivers and pedestrians.
  2. Obey the Law. Obey posted speed limits and stop signs, and reserve handicapped spots for disabled users. Drive slowly and remember to signal.
  3. Keep Your Headlights On. Using your headlights can reduce your crash risk, even in the daytime.
  4. Get Your Exercise. Choose a parking space farther away from the building. Fewer people want to park in distant spaces, so there is much less hassle.
  5. Follow Etiquette Basics. When waiting for a spot, do not block other parking space seekers. Once parked, center your vehicle and pull all the way into the space. Also, remember to return shopping carts to designated cart corral areas.
  6. Be a Mindful Pedestrian. Parking lot etiquette also applies to pedestrians. Do not walk in the middle of the lane, refrain from texting while walking, and avoid jaywalking--instead use marked pedestrian crosswalks.
  7. Watch for Small Children. Children can be hard to see in busy parking areas and often make sudden, unpredictable moves. Keep a close eye on any children with you and look out for others as well.
  8. Buckle Up and Be Patient. Even low speed collisions can result in injuries. Resist the temptation to honk the horn (or worse). Showing grace instead of anger prevents reciprocal aggression.
  9. Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings. Park in well-lit areas and always make sure you've rolled up your car windows and locked your doors. Have your keys out and ready when returning to your car.
  10. Time Yourself. If you park at a metered spot, note the expiration time and plan to return a few minutes early, setting an alarm as a reminder. Some on-street spaces now offer the ability to extend your parking time remotely through your mobile phone.

For more tips, check out: Consumer Reports’ holiday-shopping guide.

Parking Experts Offer Shoppers 10 Tips for Black Friday and the Holiday Season [International Parking Institute]

Paul Eng

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