When it comes to parking lots, it’s not always merry or bright

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

With Cyber Monday behind us and time ticking away to finish all our holiday shopping, many of us will turn to old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores down the final stretch. This also means dealing with parking lot mayhem.

Too few parking spaces and too many shoppers can turn even the calmest among us into stressed-out maniacs and parking lots into a free-for-all. Remember the following tips to make your next trip to the mall safer and happier.

  • Be aware, and scan in all direc­tions as you travel.
  • Drive slowly and watch for cars that might be cutting diagonally across the lot.
  • Use turn signals and yield the right of way to cars travelling along aisles.
  • If you can find one, park in a spot where you can pull through and face out to prevent the need for backing out.

Don’t be the person who parks over the line, diagonal, or not far enough into a space. Doing so may not give other drivers enough room to park their cars without harming yours. Also, it’s just rude.

Don’t forget to practice personal security in park­ing areas, especially when shopping during the holidays.

  • Park in well-lit areas, and scan the parking lot for threats while leaving or arriving at your vehicle.
  • Avoid shopping alone whenever possible.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.
  • Have your keys ready – to help you enter and exit your vehicle quickly.
  • Don’t let would-be thieves do any window shopping. Put bags and packages in the trunk.
  • Don’t overload yourself with bags. Doing so makes you an easy target, and can make it easier to slip and fall on ice or snow.
  • Above all – stay alert and aware of your surroundings always.

Once you’re parked, remember to slow down and focus on walking when there is snow and ice (Putting your phone away helps.). Check the weather forecast, and plan your footwear accordingly. Snow boots are better than three-inch heels when an ice storm is in the forecast. Finally, walk with your feet turned outward and in small shuffling steps when pos­sible.

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