December is here and the holiday rush has started. There are a lot of events, holiday parties, and shopping trips to make during the next thirty days and that means more vehicles in the road at the same time. At the same time, it is important to remember what is important in life and take extra care when driving in traffic.
Each year over 50,000 crashes happen in parking lots and garage, according to the National Safety Council. Many of these crashes happen during the busy holiday season. Stay alert and safe during the next month in parking lots and on the road. Here are some tips to help:
- Allow extra time - always allow extra travel time during the holiday season since traffic is heavier than usual. This allows you to be more relaxed and slow down to allow for a safer trip.
- Avoid high traffic areas if possible - if you have lived in one area for a few holiday season, you get to know what roads and intersections get most congested. In Beaumont for example, the area around Parkdale Mall is sure to be a high traffic area during construction and holiday shopping. Depending on where you live and where you're traveling to, you may be able to get to high traffic areas through side streets and in less congestion.
- Plan your trip - holiday traffic is hectic enough that it is sometimes easier to just get into it once. Think about your stops before leaving the house or office. Plan out what stop you are going to make and what is close together. If several stores are close by, you may even be able to leave your car in one place while you shop between them.
- Use blinkers even in parking lots - sometimes when drivers get into a parking lot area they stop using blinker, blinkers are always a great safety tool. When used properly, blinkers can signal other drivers and pedestrians where you are going.
- Consider parking further from the store door - often times, drivers are searching for the closest parking spot near the shop door and that is where traffic can get congested. If you are able, consider parking further from the door where foot traffic is lighter. Just be sure you are in a well-lit parking area if you are out, or will be out, after dark.
- Be safe parking in the street - one of the most fun parts holidays is seeing family and friends at holiday parties and events. Many people host parties at their home where parking may not be easy. If you're going to an event where there is no parking lot and you have to park on the street, check your surroundings before getting out of the car. Night time can be especially dangerous if oncoming traffic cannot see you. Also, allow plenty of room between your vehicle and others around you to allow for an easy exit if you leave at different times.
- Consider asking for assistance to your vehicle - dark, late shopping hours, and a handful of bags can be distracting and make you more of a target for thieves and other criminals. If you are leaving a store or the mall late at night or out otherwise do not feel safe, consider asking security to escort you to your vehicle. The extra time it may take to get assistance is worth the comfort of knowing you're safe and not taking a chance if you feel uneasy.
Make it a safe day!