Ten Parking Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season: Park Smart and Preserve Holiday Cheer for All

(Alexandria, Va.) November 19 – Despite the fact that an increasing number of people may do holiday shopping online, parking areas at malls, downtown areas, and shopping centers will still be packed this season.

Statistics show that 55 percent of non-roadway collisions between pedestrians and vehicles occur in parking lots, and 52 percent of injury-causing accidents happen when cars back up in non-residential parking areas. As you prepare for the holidays, here are ten parking tips from the International Parking Institute (IPI), the world’s largest association of parking professionals:

  1. Build in extra time to park. It’s probably the best way to reduce holiday shopping stress.
  2. Shop during off-peak times. It’s easier to find a spot during the middle of a weekday or when parents need to meet school buses!
  3. Stop multitasking. Wait until you park to use your cell phone, check your shopping list, or adjust your sound system.
  4. Respect spots reserved for the disabled. Disabled parking placard abuse is all too common and creates serious problems for people with real mobility limitations. If you park next to a disabled spot, make sure to leave plenty of room for a wheelchair to navigate.
  5. Take advantage of parking technology. There are many parking apps available that allow you to find and reserve your space ahead of time and pay for or extend your parking time with your mobile phone-you can even get text message alerts when your meter is about to expire! You’ll save time and aggravation by being tech-savvy.
  6. Park between the lines. Taking up two spots or parking over the designated lines can anger other drivers, reduce available parking spaces, and increase the chance of scratched car doors.
  7. Don’t be a “space case.” Stop and make a mental note of where you parked. Use your phone’s camera to snap a photo of a sign or landmark. Take your parking stub with you in case there’s a pay station instead of a staffed exit booth.
  8. Eliminate temptation. Always stow valuables and purchases out of sight, close windows, and lock your car after parking. Never leave a child, elderly relative, or pet in a parked car. Not even for a minute.
  9. Walk mindfully. When returning to your car, stay in well-lit areas and have keys in hand. Make eye contact and be courteous to drivers roving for a spot. Check all sides, under, and in the car before you enter.
  10. Have a back-up plan. Before backing up to exit your parking spot, check and re-check mirrors -or in-car backup cameras if you have one – and turn to see who might be approaching from both sides. Look carefully for children and pets on leashes that may be below your line of vision.

“The holiday season creates a lot of additional stress, as drivers compete for limited parking spaces,” says IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE. “This is the season when parking calls for a little extra caution, patience, and courtesy. It all pays off with safer and happier holidays.”