Soon the busiest shopping season of the year will again be upon us. The few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas lead to crowded stores, impatient shoppers and increased risk of auto accidents.

A moment of distraction in a parking lot can lead to hitting another vehicle or worse a pedestrian. According to the Insurance institute for Highway Safety 14% of all collisions occur in parking lots and lead to expensive insurance claims for vehicle damage. Distraction leads to most crashes. Pedestrians are walking with their head down looking at their phones and drivers are distracted looking for a parking spot. When no one is paying attention, it is a recipe for disaster.

Use the following tips to keep yourself safe and accident free during holiday shopping:

  1. Park farther away: The parking lot is more congested closer to the store. By parking further away you reduce the chance of an accident.
  2. Park near a light: Parking in a well lit area allows you to be seen by other drivers.
  3. Pay attention: Traffic signs and one-way arrows help you to stay in the proper traffic flow.
  4. Pick your parking spot carefully: Eliminate the need to back up while entering or exiting your parking spot by finding a spot that has an empty space in front of it. This allows you to pull forward and have your nose out.
  5. Keep your phone in your pocket, and pay attention to moving traffic.
  6. Dress to be seen: Wear light colored clothing and walk in well lit areas.
  7. Walk in crosswalks: Crosswalks and sidewalks help keep you out of harms way.

Keep safe this holiday season. Pay attention when driving and when walking, particularly in crowded parking lots, to avoid a holiday disaster.