(Photo by ItkasanImages)

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year in parking lots at shopping malls and in busy city centres. Unfortunately, it’s also the busiest time for crashes to occur in these areas.

Kate Wells from DriveWise BC has some tips for holiday shoppers to help reduce their parking lot-related frustrations as well accidents this season.

“We’ve all witnessed bad behaviour and aggressive driving and it seems to increase during this busy time of year,” said Wells. “If drivers remain calm and stick to some simple rules of the parking lot, they’ll be safer and happier.”

1. Expect the unexpected, like aggressive parking lot drivers who may be speeding, cutting corners or not paying attention. Drive at a maximum of 10km/hr to ensure the ability to stop quickly. It may seem slow but it’s the best way to reduce crashes and has the added benefit of making parking spaces easier to spot.

2. It should go without saying but by parking properly in one designated spot drivers reduce the chance of annoying others and of incidents like door scrapes and ‘close parkers’ that make it difficult to get back into a vehicle.

3. Don’t be distracted by a phone, the radio or a holiday to-do list – just don’t. Focus completely on safety while parking and in parking lots.

4. Wear a seatbelt because approximately 14 per cent of all crashes occur in parking lots.  Many people take off their seatbelt while parking but wearing one is a must.

5. Reversing into a parking stall is much safer than reversing out of one. Though backing into a spot is daunting for many people, drivers benefit from having a full visual of the parking stall versus severely limited vision and lots of distractions when reversing out of a spot.

“Backing into parking stalls is a skill that DriveWise BC students learn in order to pass the ICBC road test, not all provinces require that skill, but it’s really worthwhile learning,” said Wells. “For drivers who would need practice, we’ve provided a set of tips.”

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