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Black Friday Can Be Dangerous…Be Careful Out There

If you are headed out to the mall on Black Friday there is a good chance that you will be in a parking lot accident. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), last year 77 million people planned on hitting the shopping centers on Black Friday which translates into a lot of people competing for a limited number of parking spots.

This year could be even worse. An improving economy has the NRF forecasting that holiday sales should shoot up 4.1 percent this year, hitting $586.1 billion dollars. Experts estimate that 20 percent of all car accidents happen in parking lots and claims tend to skyrocket around the holiday shopping season. While rear-end collisions tend to be the most common, it is also possible to be t-boned in a parking lot while backing out.

In most cases, parking lot accidents occur when vehicles are moving slowly so the damage is often not extensive but that doesn’t mean they won’t affect your insurance premiums. Even a low dollar claim affect insurance rates so it is best to be very careful when shopping.

Common Parking Lot Accidents

The type of accident you have will determine your next move. Here are a few tips on how to handle the most common Black Friday parking lot accidents:

Moving accidents are fairly common in parking lots. If you hit, or are hit by another moving vehicle experts advise to contact the police. This gives you an official record of the incident and will help determine who was at fault. In many cases the police will refuse to come out for a minor accident. Exchange information on your own and let your adjuster determine who was at fault.

See if you can find any witnesses and try to get their contact information which you can pass along to your insurance company. Be sure to take plenty of photos before you move the vehicles and write down a detailed description of the accident as soon as possible.

Hundreds, even thousands of parked cars in one place is bound to lead to a few of them getting dinged up. If you smash into a parked car you should do the right thing and leave a detailed note with your contact information. This is not only good karma, in most states it’s the law. If you fail to leave a note you are guilty of hit and run which will dramatically raise your insurance premiums, and may even result in cancellation. Many shopping centers have video cameras in their parking lots so don’t be surprised if the police show up at your door a few days after the incident.

If your vehicle was hit and there is no note on the windshield, you will end up having to make a claim on your collision coverage. You will have to cover the deductible and despite having no blame in the incident, there is a good chance your rates will go up. You should certainly call the police and request mall security to review any videos, you may get lucky. 

A Few Tips

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe and accident free during on Black Friday:

  • When you are backing out, look carefully for other vehicles as well as pedestrians.
  • Keep an eye out for vehicles that are driving diagonally across the parking lot.
  • Drive slowly in the parking lot and use your indicators at all times.
  • If you have a back-up camera on your car, use it.
  • Consider doing your shopping online.
  • Mail Christmas cards early, Post Office parking lots can be the most dangerous.
  • Park at the end of the lot to avoid dings.
  • Lock your car and cove up visible packages, break-ins are much more common during the holiday shopping season.