Holiday Parking? Seven Tips and a Positive Attitude Put You in the Best Spot
Simple strategies to help you preserve your sanity and show goodwill this season
The weeks between Black Friday and January can present some of the year’s greatest parking challenges, turning holiday cheer into stress and frustration as rushed shoppers battle like warriors for a finite number of parking spaces.
The International Parking Institute, the world’s largest association of parking professionals and the parking industry, wants to help preserve your sanity this holiday season with a few suggestions:
- Give yourself the gift of time. Allow a few extra minutes to navigate the parking facility in your favorite downtown, shopping center, or mall. Plan your trips during less-crowded times and abandon the quest for the closest space. Extra exercise this time of year has its benefits!
- Use high-tech parking advances. An increasing number of cities offer parking apps that allow you to find and reserve your space ahead of time, pay by cell, and even extend parking time via your mobile phone. Many public and private garages now feature real-time signage that tells you how many spots are open per level, guiding you to available spaces.
- Put safety first. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in one major U.S. city alone, 14 percent of collisions resulting in insurance claims occured in parking lots. Wait until you put your car in park before texting or calling, and be especially watchful when backing up. Be sure to stow valuables and purchases out of sight, close windows, lock up, and never leave a child or pet in a parked car.
- Observe the law. Never pull into a parking space designated for those with disabilities unless you have a permit to do so. Penalties are typically high and these spaces are vital to those who truly need them.
- Make it easy to find your space. Use your smartphone to help you remember where you parked: take a photo of your level, parking section, or other landmark (or just write it down).
- Be a mindful pedestrian. Keep to well-lit areas and walk alertly with keys in-hand when returning to your car. Don’t text while walking, stay off the phone, and look around you. Check all sides, under, and in the car before you enter.
- Exit cautiously. Check and re-check mirrors, turn to look over your shoulder, and watch for pedestrians, especially children who may be below your line of vision. According to the Federal Highway Administration, emergency room data shows 55 percent of non-roadway collisions between pedestrians and vehicles occur in parking lots.
The bottom line, says Shawn Conrad, executive director of the International Parking Institute, is to be a safe, patient, and courteous driver and have faith that the goodwill you show to others this season ultimately will be extended to you.
Interviews and/or hi-res photographs upon request