Stay Safe When Pulling Santa’s Sleigh Through the Parking Lot
The holidays are a happy time, but they are also a time when drivers and pedestrians get distracted by shopping lists, special events, and celebrations. Nationwide, one in every five pedestrian accidents occurs in parking lots. This rate doubles to two in five accidents in November and December. Staying safe over the holidays and avoiding a pedestrian accident in parking lots boils down to following a few simple rules of the road.
When Driving Through Parking Lots
- Always use your turn signal.
- Drive slow and stay alert for ice, snow, sand, and water that could diminish your traction. It’s advisable to keep your speed below 15 mph at all times.
- Stay alert for small children. Closely monitor pedestrian traffic and watch for children rushing to catch up with parents or racing a sibling to the car.
- Stay off your phone. Don’t even use hands-free devices.
- Don’t “hunt” for a spot. Take the first spot you come across. Less driving in the parking lot means less risk of causing an accident.
- Park near the building after dusk. Always park under streetlights as close as possible to the building after the sun goes down.
- Set your brakes and secure your vehicle before walking away.
When Walking Through Parking Lots
- Wear bright clothing. If you are shopping after dark, make sure to affix reflective strips to your jacket and hat.
- Stick to the sidewalk. Do not attempt to dodge an icy sidewalk by walking beside it in the road.
- Don’t walk in the middle of the lane. It’s safer to stick beside the bumpers of the vehicles as you walk by. Better still, if there is a sidewalk between parking spaces, use it when it is available.
- Keep a hand on young children. Always guide young children by holding their hands. Keeping them close will keep them safe.
- Monitor vehicle traffic. Watch for turn signals, and never assume that a vehicle will stop before walking in front of it.
- Stay off the phone. Talking, texting, or browsing sales takes your eyes and focus away from your surroundings.
- Wear shoes with reliable tread. Shoes with solid tread will help keep you from slipping and sliding your way through the parking lot.
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