Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the rest of the holiday shopping season will soon be upon us. Parking – as well as patience – will be a premium again at the shopping malls this time of year.
The parking lots and structures at the malls during the holidays are places where our stress level can rise quickly. Here are a few driving tips to help Drive Aloha and make the holiday shopping experience smoother and safer for both you and the other drivers:
Park closer to the lot exits. The biggest jams in the mall parking lots are usually near the front of the parking lot and closer to the stores because that is where pedestrians usually cross and drivers want to park as close as possible. By parking closer to the exits you won’t have to deal with the traffic near the storefronts and have a chance to leave the area quicker.
Park further away and walk. We’ve all seen those drivers slowly circling around the parking lot in hopes that a stall closer to the mall will open up. Lurking in the parking lot is not only inefficient for you, it slows down the other drivers. Grabbing the first parking spot you can find and walking the rest of the way actually takes less time than trying to beat the high odds of finding a premium parking stall.
ALWAYS watch for kids. Parents can become distracted at the malls while carrying shopping bags with young children. As a motorist, you need to be mindful of small children getting in or out of a car in the parking area who may not be in full sight. And drive slowly in the event you have to react to a child darting in front of your vehicle.
Also be mindful as a pedestrian. Once you’re out of your car and you become a pedestrian at the malls, give your full attention to your surroundings as a courtesy to other drivers. If a driver stops and lets you cross the street at the mall, don’t take your time by looking at your cellphone. Those texts from your family on gifts to buy can wait until you get into the store.
Strategize and schedule your shopping. The best way to minimize dealing with holiday shopping traffic is to visit the popular malls during low-peak times. The most popular times for holiday shopping are after work hours and on weekends. Consider shopping during the weekdays and before noon on the weekends to avoid overcrowded mall parking lots and get through the stores quicker. Get your shopping done early to avoid the busy last six days before Christmas.
Drive defensively and with ALOHA this holiday season!