Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. And if you have yet to venture out to our local stores and plazas, you are late.
The rush has already begun. But you will be safer, with this list of safety tips - for shoppers and motorists - while in the parking lot, according to the International Parking Institute.
Their recommendations include:
Exercise caution when backing out - 25 percent of parking lot accidents are caused by backing moves. Watch for other drivers and pedestrians.
Obey posted speed limits and stop signs, and reserve handicapped spots for disabled users. Drive slowly and remember to signal.
Using your headlights can reduce your crash risk, even in the daytime.
Choose a parking space farther away from the building. Fewer people want to park in distant spaces, so there is much less hassle.
When waiting for a spot, do not block other parking space seekers. Also, remember to return shopping carts to designated cart corral areas.
Parking lot etiquette also applies to pedestrians. Do not walk in the middle of the lane, refrain from texting while walking, and avoid jaywalking - instead use marked pedestrian crosswalks.
Watch for small children. Children can be hard to see in busy parking areas and often make sudden, unpredictable moves. Keep a close eye on any children with you and look out for others as well.
Buckle up and be patient. Even low-speed collisions can result in injuries. Resist the temptation to honk the horn - or worse. Showing grace instead of anger prevents reciprocal aggression.
Park in well-lit areas and always make sure you've rolled up your car windows and locked your doors. Have your keys out and ready when returning to your car.
If you park at a metered spot, note the expiration time and plan to return a few minutes early, setting an alarm as a reminder.