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‘Tis the Season to be Distracted, warns AAA

Tips to Avoid Holiday Traffic Misfortune

lit stacked christmas lights

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (December 20, 2016) – As the holidays draw closer and last minute shopper are getting frazzled, being in a parking lot can be a high risk task. Shoppers will be out on the roads looking for that last minute item and preparing for their holiday gathering. According to National Safety Council’s recent poll, two-thirds of drivers will likely be distracted as they navigate parking lots and parking garages.



  • 66% of adult drivers and 60% of 15- to 17-year-old teens would make phone calls while driving in a parking lot.

  • More than 50% of adults and teens would text while driving in a parking lot.

  • Family was cited among the majority of adults and teens as the motivator for talking on the phone. Other distractions endorsed by a significant proportion of adults and teens include using the GPS, digital music, grooming, and social media.

Nationally, one out of every five car crashes occurs in parking garages and parking lots, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Overly zealous shoppers can forget even the most basic safety precautions when rushing to that last minute gift or make it before the store closes, often locking their keys in their cars or hitting another vehicle when zipping in and out of parking spaces,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “It is important for motorists and shoppers alike, to avoid distractions when driving and walking through a parking lot.”

AAA Tidewater tips to parking lot safety:

See and be seen. Use your headlights when on the roads or scouring parking garages for spaces, even in the daytime. The light will let other cars see you coming around turns and can make fitting into that tight parking space a little easier.

Slow down, buckle up. Even a low-speed collision can result in injuries. Make sure that everyone is strapped in a seat belt or child safety seat while the vehicle is in motion, even if it is just a short trip to another part of the parking lot.

Look out for little ones. It can be difficult to see small children in busy parking lots or on residential roads. Be aware of your surroundings and look for children, who may make quick and unpredictable movements.

Stay on track and alert. Pedestrians should use walkways and crosswalks, if available. If walking in the traffic lanes is unavoidable, be alert for subtle cues – including exhaust or reverse lights – that signal a vehicle is about to pull out.

Stay on guard in parking lots. Choose a well-lighted area to park at night. When returning to your vehicle, have keys ready in hand and check the car’s interior before entering, using a keychain flashlight or even an I-Phone APP. 

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 325,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).