Stay safe on Black Friday
As shoppers gear up to hit the malls and other retailers in search of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday bargains, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges shoppers to use caution, especially in parking lots and garages.
“Whether it’s the thrill of holiday shopping hustle and bustle or the hunt for the ultimate gift deal, holiday shopping should not come at the expense of safety,” according to a release from AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This year more retailers are opening earlier than ever before, after dark on Thanksgiving night, and others will open before daybreak on Black Friday. AAA advises shoppers to be aware of their surroundings, especially in dark parking lots, and stay alert while out and about.”
According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey, up to 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and SundayF in 2012, a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year, according to WKH 1DWLRnDO 5HWDLO )HGHUDWLRn. 6SHFLfiFDOOy, 71 PLOOLRn VDLG they would shop and another 76 million said they would wait and see what retailers have in-store that weekend.
The NRF is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year, but two-thirds of shoppers UHVSRnGLnJ WR D UHFHnW 15) VuUYHy VDLG WKH fiVFDO FOLII DnG other economic concerns would affect their holiday spending. In NRF’s recently-released holiday spending survey, just over half – 52.3 percent – of those polled said the state of the economy is impacting their holiday spending plans, but that’s down from 62.2 percent last year.
AAA Mid-Atlantic also reminds shoppers to pack their patience when navigating through crowded parking lots and garages. Careless and inattentive driving in these tight areas could result in additional holiday expenses, including fenderbenders, personal injuries and a general Grinch-like attitude. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 20 percent of all vehicle collisions that result in damage claims occur in parking lots. AAA’s Black Friday Safety Tips Stay on guard in parking lots. Pay attention to where you park, note parking lot signs and markers. Choose a well-lit area to park during early morning hours and at night. When returning to your vehicle, have keys ready in hand and check the car’s interior before entering, using a penlight at night. Report suspicious people or cars.
See and be seen. Use your headlights when scouring parking garages for spaces, even during the day. Avoid parking between a pair of tall SUss or minivans where it might be hard for you to back out of the space. If you can’t see well enough to back out safely, get help from one of your passengers.
Stay on track and alert. Pedestrians should use walkways DnG FURVVZDONV, LI DYDLODEOH. ,I ZDONLnJ Ln WUDIfiF ODnHV LV unavoidable, be alert for cues — including exhaust or reverse lights — that signal a vehicle is about to pull out. When behind the wheel, always be on the lookout for pedestrians, HVSHFLDOOy VPDOO FKLOGUHn. ,n SDUNLnJ ORWV, LW FDn EH GLIfiFuOW to see small children, who may make quick, unpredictable movements.
Thieves like to window shop. Place all shopping bags and valuables in the trunk, including the GPS units and their mounts. It takes a thief just seconds to smash a window and steal your loot.
And if all of that sounds like it’s too much, wait until Cyber Monday. Avoid the crowds and take advantage of special online promotions.
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