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AAA Warns of Parking Lot Perils During Holiday Shopping

Nov. 29, 2013

The National Retail Federation predicts that approximately 97 million shoppers nationwide will take advantage of “Black Friday” deals today. In total, 140 million are expected to join the shopping frenzy this weekend, numbers which are sure to result in parking lots which are overflowing with often frantic shoppers.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding bargain hunters to stay focused on safety when searching for the ever coveted parking space today and throughout the holiday shopping season.

“Retailers create and feed the frenzy and excitement that comes with great deals this time of year, however, AAA urges shoppers to keep any panicked feelings at bay at least until they are safely parked and inside a store or mall,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager, Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Parking lots this time of year can seem more like bumper car games, a locksmith’s paradise and a thieves’ playground if common sense does not prevail.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 20 percent of all vehicle collisions that result in damage claims occur in parking lots. Officials with AAA urge drivers to avoid petty confrontations that can result in additional holiday expenses, including fender-benders, personal injuries and a general Grinch-like attitude.

Excited shoppers also frequently lock their keys in their cars as they rush to take advantage of sale prices, limited quantities and juggling packages. “AAA lock out technicians stay very busy from today through the end of the year assisting members who have inadvertently locked their keys in the car,” Meade added.

Theft, a crime of opportunity, is also high during the holiday season and what better time to be on the prowl for a would-be robber than when the most people will be out buying expensive and coveted holiday gifts. AAA reminds shoppers to keep all valuables out of site, preferably in the trunk of the car.

AAA offers the following holiday parking lot safety tips:

- Look out for little ones. It can be difficult to see small children in busy parking lots.

- Make sure you have your keys before locking the car door. Every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, AAA technicians stay very helping members who are stranded because they are locked out of their cars.

- Thieves like to window shop. Place all shopping bags and valuables in the trunk, including the GPS and its mount, so they won’t be visible to would-be thieves. Remove any evidence, such as GPS suction cup marks from the vehicle’s windshield.

- Slow down, buckle up. Even a low-speed collision can result in injuries.

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