Experts at AAA say there are several things you can do to cut down your risk of getting into an accident or getting your gifts stolen in busy store parking lots this Holiday season.
We spoke with AAA South Dakota spokeswoman Marilyn Buskohl. She says when it comes to avoiding fender benders in busy store parking lots you need to first and foremost be paying attention. She says you almost need to constantly drive defensively in these parking lots. Buskohl says when pulling into a busy parking lot full of shoppers you need to eliminate distractions. She says you should turn off and stow cell phones and don't try to update your GPS device while driving. Next she says you need to watch for pedestrians. Remain cautious of pedestrians on crosswalks and moving in-between and behind cars. Be alert especially for children who are not always paying attention. Buskohl also recommends parking further away from stores where you will have lighter traffic. She also recommends not parking in a really tight spot or between two tall SUVs. She says in those spots it will be hard to see when you are trying to back out. Buskohl says you also need to buckle up even if you are just going from one store to another close by. She says even at slow speeds an accident can cause a lot of damage. " During the Holiday season when there are parking lots full of people, it's easier for accidents to happen. So just watch for other vehicles, watch for pedestrians, just keep eyes peeled for anything that might be going on," Buskohl said.
Unfortunately besides watching your car in the parking lot AAA says you need to be careful when leaving gifts in your car as well. AAA says crowded parking lots full of people can provide a big distraction for a thief to get in your car and steal your gifts. AAA says protect your presents by keeping your shopping bags out of sight in the trunk. Experts say a thief can steal your gifts in a matter of seconds, so eliminate the temptation by keeping them out of sight. Next they say don't leave really important things in your car when you are shopping. Make sure your purse is in your hand with any other valuables you might keep in your car. This way a thief won't see something they want sitting inside your car. Also AAA says know who is around you in the parking lot. They say if someone comes up to your car you don't have to be rude but you also shouldn't roll down a window or open a door to a stranger, especially with a car full of gifts.
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