Hamilton, NJ (November 23, 2016) –– With Black Friday shopping sales starting as early as Thanksgiving afternoon, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding shoppers to use caution, avoid distractions and keep their calm while searching for that perfect parking spot. Not only will many motorists be rushing to get a coveted parking space to hit ‘door buster’ sales and other holiday bargains on Black Friday, a poll released by the National Safety Council (NSC) recently, indicates that two-thirds of drivers will likely be distracted as they navigate parking lots and garages.
“We know that traffic will be much more congested near and around malls and shopping centers after Thanksgiving. Parking lots and garages at these shopping areas will also be packed. AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging motorists to concentrate on driving and to avoid distractions as they seek out those holiday bargains,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 20 percent of all vehicle collisions that result in damage claims occur in parking lots. Additionally, “on average, more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries,” according to Injury Facts 2016.
AAA is also reminding shoppers to pay attention, as they enter or leave stores, as distracted walking is a serious safety issue, as well. NSC’s poll found that “two-thirds – 66 percent – of drivers would make phone calls while driving through a parking lot, and 56 percent would text.”
According to a University of Maryland study, from 2001-2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously injured because they were distracted by their phones. Also of note, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found the number of pedestrian deaths jumped more than nine percent in 2015 compared to 2014 – the highest number since 1996.
Because Black Friday kicks off the busiest of shopping seasons, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges motorists and pedestrians to avoid distractions and watch where they’re going.
The auto club also offers the following TOP 10 Safety Tips for Black Friday:
“Unfortunately, tempers can run high and patience short as drivers circle the parking lot in search of an empty parking space,” Noble said. “Careless and inattentive driving in crowded parking lots could result in additional holiday expenses, including fender-benders, personal injuries and a general Grinch-like attitude. Don’t let distractions and your dash for deals dampen your holiday spirits,” the spokeswoman concluded.
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