Black Friday is an annual tradition many friends and family members look forward to sharing. Unfortunately, the excitement of holiday deals and spending time with loved ones can also distract drivers, shoppers, pedestrians, and others enjoying the same experience.
Here, we discuss a few Black Friday safety tips behind the wheel, in parking lots, and while navigating busy stores.
Black Friday Shopping Safety: In the Car
Traffic can be more congested than usual as eager shoppers get behind the wheel to catch the early deals. In most cases, it is still dark outside when shoppers line up at their favorite retail stores.
Here are some driver safety tips for Black Friday shoppers:
- Check Your Vehicle
Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition before heading out. Check the tires, brakes, and lights, and make sure you have a full gas tank.
- Plan Your Route in Advance
Plan your shopping route and minimize the number of stops to reduce time spent on the road. Use GPS or navigation apps to help you find the quickest routes and real-time traffic updates to avoid delays.
- Buckle Up
Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seatbelts, and make sure children are secured in appropriate car seats.
- Stay Alert
Avoid distractions while driving. Do not text, talk on the phone, or engage in other distractions. Stay focused on the road.
- Don’t Drink and Drive
If you plan to celebrate with alcoholic beverages during or after your shopping, designate a sober driver or use a ridesharing service.
- Be Patient
Keep your patience while driving. Aggressive driving can lead to accidents, especially in crowded areas.
- Obey Traffic Laws
Follow all traffic laws, including speed limits, stop signs, and traffic signals. Don’t make illegal U-turns or park in restricted areas.
- Leave Extra Time
Black Friday traffic and parking can be unpredictable, so leave extra time for your journey to account for delays.
- Share the Road
Be courteous to other drivers and share the road responsibly. Use turn signals and yield the right of way as needed.
- Watch for Pedestrians
Be particularly vigilant for pedestrians, especially in busy shopping areas. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Emergency Kit
Keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials like a flashlight, first aid supplies, and blankets if you encounter unexpected situations.
Black Friday Shopping Safety: In Parking Lots
Once you reach your destination(s), it is crucial to remain vigilant in parking lots.
Here are some parking lot safety tips for Black Friday shoppers:
- Drive Safely
Be patient and cautious while navigating the parking lot, and watch out for pedestrians and other motorists who may not be paying full attention. Look in all directions before backing up, and keep a sharp eye out for kids unaware of parking lot dangers.
- Respect Parking Rules
Park only in designated spots and follow the parking rules and restrictions to avoid getting towed or fined.
- Park in Well-Lit Areas
Choose well-lit parking areas, especially if you plan to shop early in the morning or late at night.
- Lock Your Car
Ensure your car is locked and all valuables are hidden. Thieves may target cars in busy parking lots.
- Stay Aware
Keep an eye on your surroundings and avoid distractions like talking on the phone or texting while walking through the parking lot.
- Use the Buddy System
If possible, walk with someone to your car or ask store security for an escort if you feel uncomfortable.
- Have Keys Ready
When returning to your car, have your keys ready to minimize the time spent fumbling in your bag or pockets.
- Trust Your Instincts
If something feels wrong, trust your instincts and seek assistance from store security or the authorities.
Black Friday Shopping Safety: In-Stores
Black Friday is known for its incredible deals, but it can also be a chaotic and potentially unsafe shopping experience due to the large crowds and the rush to grab discounted items.
Here are some in-store safety tips for Black Friday shoppers:
- Plan Ahead
Before heading out, make a shopping list and know exactly what you want. This will help you stay focused and avoid wandering through the store, which can be dangerous in crowded situations.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
You may be on your feet for an extended period, so wear comfortable clothing and shoes. This will help reduce fatigue and minimize the risk of tripping or falling.
- Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks
Black Friday shopping can be physically demanding, so drink water and take short breaks to rest.
- Shop in Groups
Going with friends or family can provide an extra layer of safety. Stick together and establish a meeting point in case you get separated.
- Avoid Rushing
The adrenaline of Black Friday deals can lead to impulsive decisions and accidents. Walk, don’t run, through the store to avoid collisions, slips, trips, and falls, and falling merchandise or displays.
- Be Mindful of Personal Space
Keep your personal space and respect others’ personal space. Be patient and courteous to avoid confrontations.
- Protect Your Valuables
Keep your wallet, phone, and other valuable items secure, preferably in a bag you can carry close to your body. Pickpocketing can be a concern in crowded areas.
- Follow Store Guidelines
Pay attention to the store’s rules and guidelines. Many stores have security personnel and staff to help manage the crowd.
- Pay Attention to Exits
Be aware of the nearest exits in emergencies or if you need to leave quickly.
What to Do After a Car, Parking Lot, or In-Store Accident on Black Friday
If you are involved in a vehicle collision or are a victim of crime, contact law enforcement immediately and ensure the responding officers file a report.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall incident or harmed by failing displays or falling merchandise, contact the store’s supervisor immediately and ensure they create an incident report.
- Preserve any evidence from the scene by taking pictures or video of the accident or dangerous conditions.
- Record driver/witness contact information and insurance details.
- Seek medical care immediately and follow all physician’s directions.
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