Tips for Driving and Parking on Black Friday
While Black Friday shopping may bring exciting deals and the fun of finding a bargain, the traffic and parking can be a challenge. Parking spaces are limited, people always seem to be in a rush to get to the next stop and the roads are congested. But with a little planning, you may be able to avoid the added stress driving and parking can create. As you head out to tackle your holiday shopping this year, remember these Black Friday traffic and parking tips.
Plan Your Route Before You Go
Checking out the sales ads and figuring out where you need to go before leaving your house can help keep your day moving smoothly. Popular Science suggests creating a driving route based on what stores you plan to visit. Prioritize your route by the items you want the most, which stores have great deals or which retailer opens the earliest, says The Balance. By not bouncing from one side of town to the other all day, you may be able to maximize your shopping time and get done earlier so you only have to deal with a few hours of traffic on Black Friday.
Take Advantage of Navigation Apps
With so many bargain hunters looking to get to their next stop, you may want to consider downloading a traffic app before the big day. Techlicious notes that there are a number of navigation apps available that can help you plan the quickest route, avoid traffic jams and provide turn-by-turn directions.
It can be helpful to enter your route into your GPS device or cellphone ahead of time, so you’re ready to navigate the busy roads. And, if your app provides traffic information, it may help you find a better route if the crowds are backing up traffic.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), both drivers and pedestrians are likely to be distracted and rushed during the holiday season — stating that the number of accidents spikes each year on Black Friday. On a day when traffic is heavy and you may feel rushed and flustered, the last thing you need is an accident. To limit distractions, put cellphones away and leave the music off.
The NSC recommends that drivers avoid cutting across lanes on roads and in parking lots. Use extra caution when backing out of parking spots, and watch for pedestrians, especially children and parents pushing strollers. Remember to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you and use extra caution throughout the day.
Park With Care
Between drivers looking for open spots, jam-packed lots and narrow aisles, Black Friday parking can be an accident waiting to happen. But by remembering these simple tips from International Parking and Mobility Institute, you can take some extra precautions that may help prevent major problems:
- Back out slowly and carefully: Use your mirrors and back-up camera (if you have one), but do not rely on them completely. Always turn and look around all sides of your vehicle while slowly inching out of your spot.
- Be especially aware of pedestrians: When driving down a parking lot aisle, go slowly so you have time to react if a pedestrian steps in front of your vehicle. Look to see if anyone is getting in or out of a nearby car before pulling into or backing out of a parking spot. Be especially watchful for small children, who can be difficult to see from inside your car.
- Park at a distance: If you park farther away from the store or mall doors, there are often fewer cars vying for spots. Plus, it might give you a quicker and easier exit when you leave.
- Be a considerate driver: When parking, make sure you are centered in the lines and that you’ve left enough space for other drivers to open their doors. Also, do not block other spaces while waiting for a spot.
With so many people out on the road the day after Thanksgiving, you may run into some unexpected hassles — no matter how well you plan. While you can’t predict what Black Friday traffic will be like, if you remember these tips and take the necessary precautions, things may go a little more smoothly.
Originally published on November 24, 2014.