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5 tips for staying safe in parking lots

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SALT LAKE CITY — Stores, malls, and the parking lots are busy during December, and paying extra attention behind the wheel could save a lot of pain and anguish. Turns out, our haste during the holidays is very dangerous.

AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said more than 20 percent of all accidents during the holidays happen in shopping mall parking lots and garages and 1,700 people are killed each year in these incidents.

Slowing down and taking your time are obviously wise when you're headed out, and AAA has five tips that we should be aware of and practice.

See and be seen

Use your headlights in parking lots, even in the daytime. This is especially important in darker underground lots.

Avoid tight spots

If you can get around it, don't park between tall SUVs and vans as it limits visibility, particularly when backing out.

Don't rely on cameras

Many modern vehicles come with cameras on the side mirrors and also feature a backup camera. While they are a great safety feature, they often give a false sense of security to drivers. Don't let cameras replace your eyes when backing in and out of lots, parking spaces and driveways.

Refrain from reverse

Another tip from AAA is to avoid putting your vehicle into reverse in particularly crowded areas. They recommend pulling into spaces that are nose-to-nose or otherwise situating your car to make it easy to leave without inhibiting your visibility.

Learn to play the outfield

Don't be afraid to park far away in outlying areas where there are fewer cars and it's generally safer to park.

This is the time of year when we are certainly dashing from place to place, store to store and are always in a hurry. The deadlines to get those packages in the mail are fast approaching. The last thing anyone wants is to be involved in an accident in the process. Be safe this holiday season, not a statistic.

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Keith McCord


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