Holiday Shoppers: Be Careful Parking At The Mall


Mall Parking Lot
Editorial Credit: Sharkshock/Shutterstock.com
We're only about a week away from Christmas! While there may be fewer shoppers at the mall this year due to Covid, some people will make the personal decision to mask up and do their shopping in person. For those that do, a reminder that parking lots can be dangerous places. Not just in terms of accidents but thieves who may be targeting your vehicle for theft. Here are some tips on what to be on the lookout for - from your personal safety and that of other pedestrians, to the safety of your vehicle and its precious unwrapped contents.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

According to the National Safety Council, tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garage structures each year. These tips will help you minimize the risks during the especially dangerous holiday season:

  • Donít be distracted behind the wheel. Put down your phone and stay alert to what is going on around you. Also donít use your cellphone when youíre walking through a parking lot. If youíre looking down at your phone it makes you an easy target.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for children and other pedestrians both in and out of crosswalks.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Donít squeeze yourself into a parking space. You could end up with door dings or have trouble getting in and out.
  • Donít park between two tall vehicles. It makes it difficult to see when you are backing out of the space.
  • Donít just rely on technology, i.e. your rearview backup camera. Actually look over your shoulder and also use your side mirrors.
  • Keep your seatbelt fastened. A lot of accidents happen in parking lots, so a seatbelt is just as important as if you were on the road.
  • Practice parking lot etiquette. Be a courteous driver to avoid any confrontations with frazzled, impatient drivers.
  • Remember where you parked. Itís easy to do if you take a picture of where you parked with your smartphone. Some apps can also help you track it down.

Deterring Would-Be Grinches

Parking lots are also a place frequented by thieves, especially during the holiday season. Donít assume because there is a police presence at many malls that you or your packages are safe because they have a wide area to monitor. Always stay alert and note your surroundings, plus follow these tips:
  • Stow your bags in the trunk to keep them out of sight.
  • Donít make it easy for a thief to snatch and grab your purse or shopping bags. Make sure they are secure in your hand.
  • Always lock your doors. If you think you forgot, you can do this remotely now from many vehicle apps.
  • Have your keys out and ready when you get to your vehicle.
  • Never leave your car running with the keys in it while youíre loading or unloading packages from the trunk.
  • Donít open your car door or window to a stranger.
Following these safety tips will help minimize your risks in terms of parking lot accidents and keeping any holiday grinches at bay.
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John W
As a defensive handgun instructor I would like to reinforce and add to Jerry's excellent suggestions about parking lots. Instead of walking directly to your car, walk in a path where you can see near and around where your car is parked before going to it. It is reasonable to walk past your car as though going to another car so you can look back at your car. Check to see if anyone appears to be following you and reverse or change course to get back into the store as though you have forgotten something. The key is to be aware of who is near you and what they are doing.
The Car Pro
John, thanks for adding to the discussion! Your suggestions are very good. I hope you and your have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Jerry Reynolds
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