As holiday shopping season kicks off, AAA cautions parking lot driving safety

9NEWS at 5 p.m. 11/25/16.

KUSA - Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season and shoppers have their different philosophies for making it through the day.

“In and out,” said shopper Wendy Kent. “Not really a big Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopper. Just decided to come in today and see if there was anything I couldn’t live without.”

Others love the experience.

“It’s a great time to shop,” said shopper Sherrie Claybaugh.

Yet, Black Friday also kicks off the time of year when parking lots see a rise in the number of accidents. AAA is warning drivers and pedestrians to pay attention as they make their way through lots and garages this holiday season.

“Unfortunately, a lot of times, people get excited about their Black Friday shopping and forget to be safe in very crowded parking lots,” said AAA Colorado Spokesperson Wave Dreher. “Pedestrian automobile accidents are very high that day.”

That is something the National Safety Council warns about as well. Their 2016 survey of thousands of drivers across the country found that two-thirds of them – 66 percent – admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving in a parking lot. More than half of those surveyed – 56 percent -- also admitted to texting while driving in a parking lot. On average across the country, 60,000 people are injured and 500 die each year in parking lot accidents.

“I’m very concerned about that, so I drive really slow and very careful,” said Claybaugh, who was shopping at Colorado Mills in Lakewood.

Colorado Mills said its security team not only does routine patrols in their parking lots and garage, but also offers shoppers the option of asking for a security escort to their vehicles.

AAA said staying safe is also up to drivers and pedestrians, to make sure they are paying attention to where they are going - even in parking lots, where people tend to drive a little slower.

“Just take a little time to look around before you back out. There might be another car, waiting to get your parking spot that’s in your blind spot,” Dreher said. “There also might be a child that’s excited to go see Santa Claus, that’s in your blind spot. So, check your mirrors, do that over-the-shoulder check, just be extra cautious.”

AAA suggests that, when possible, try to pull through to the next space in front of you, so you don’t need to back out of a spot. Also, use your headlights, even during the day and especially in parking garages. They add everyone should always be on guard as they make their way through a parking lot – so, put away the smartphone.
 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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