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It’s Christmas time, the weekend is approaching, and our economy is doing better than it has in years. If you need to shop today, you may be experiencing the perfect storm of shopping hazards. It’s no secret that conditions on the road get worse as the Christmas holiday draws near. People are impatient, traffic is a mess, and no one wants to pay attention to their surroundings. However, with a little preparation, and a clear mind, you too can shop safely this weekend. Here are 10 Driving Tips for the Last-Minute Shopper.
Too often people waste time by approaching a shopping center without a plan. Any major shopping center will be contested this weekend. Try to plan where you want to go in advance. I made the mistake of trying to buy a gift on my lunch break yesterday. This was a huge mistake. I had no time to get what I needed and I was almost involved in two accidents. Plan your route out before you go, and try to make use of surface roads or other roadways that may be less congested. I personally have a special way of getting to my local mall that saves a lot of time and avoids dangerous intersections.
This is a perfect rule for any time of year, but especially the holidays. You’re going to be experiencing much more congestion than you are used to. There will be several more opportunities to wreck. No one needs to see your Snapchat photo of what it’s like to sit in traffic. This behavior can put a lot of lives at risk. You can also receive a ticker for it too.
This may seem obvious, but take a second to make sure your key fob is actually locking your doors. A few years ago, my key fob failed, but I was unaware of it for several weeks. I used it to lock and unlock my doors. But I would always wait until I was a few steps away from the car to hit the button. It turns out that my car was still honking when I pushed the button, but the doors were not locking. As soon as you get out of your car, hit your lock button, and make sure your doors are indeed locked.
Backup cameras are fun, but they are meant to aid you in your reversing. Be sure to use your mirrors and look around you as well when backing out of a parking lot. Also, if there is a bunch of salt on the road, your cameras will probably be covered in the substance. This is also true of your headlights and windshield. Try to keep them clean in the wintertime.
My car is always a mess and I don’t utilize my storage space properly. I have a lot of stuff in the back seat taking up space and my trunk is full. So, most things that I buy are out in the open for everyone to see. Further, my car has very large non-tinted windows. It’s almost as bad as putting a sign on the roof that reads “please rob me.” It is easy for thieves to look in my car and see my purchases. So, you and I both need to see what we can do to hide our stuff. I’ve always been jealous of SUV owners because so many of these vehicles have shades for the back of the vehicle. Plus, many SUVs have dark tinted windows that adorn the cargo area. Between the dark tint and the cargo shade, it’s almost impossible to see in the back of most SUVs. There are other ways to hide your belongings, though. Hide things under the seat, make use of glove boxes, or even simply cover your items with a coat or tasteful sweater.
I love shopping at the Easton Town Center in Columbus. It’s not so much a mall as it is a shopping destination. Its kind of like Jurassic World meets retail therapy. I’ve been there for more than 8 hours in one trip before. I’ve left my car in the same area for the entire time too. In fact, I walked back with my purchases to the car, put them inside and then left to go have dinner and watch a movie. If a thief was watching my activity, he/she would notice that my car had sat for a while, and it would be a good opportunity for them to break into my car.
I tend to park as far away from the entrance of stores as possible. It keeps my car from getting scratched up by irresponsible motorists and rogue shopping carts, but it usually means poor lighting. If you’re in an area with poor lighting you’re more likely going to be a target for someone to attack you or break into your car. Plus, the closer to the store you park, the more likely your car will be on a surveillance camera. Thieves are less likely to steal if there are witnesses or cameras nearby.
It’s no secret that shopping alone during the holidays can be difficult. It’s always a good idea to take someone with you. A lot of men will likely ignore this because they feel as if they are invincible. I am a large guy who is 6’4.” But if I am by myself and have to fight a group of people or one Rhonda Rousey, I am not going to win. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Once again, I travel to Columbus to shop often. I know which communities to avoid. In larger cities, there are places to shop that are in safer areas than others. Try to avoid areas with higher crime rates if possible.
I am a social media guru. I love it all and know how to use it quite well. Let’s say we were all hanging out at a large shopping center like the Easton Town Center in Columbus. Well, if I log onto Instagram, I can simply type Easton Town Center and Instagram will show me all the most recent photos taken there. As luck would have it, the third picture that showed up was a photo of someone’s vehicle, parked next to a sign for the garage they were in. Their caption said that they would return in an hour. So, in one post, I knew exactly where their vehicle would be, how long they’d be gone, the license number, and when I clicked on his account, I saw exactly what he looked like, so I would know if he was near his vehicle. Plus, he parked in an area where there would not be many witnesses. This is not smart. Do not geotag yourself.
Use these tips, common sense, and do a little planning this weekend and you’ll likely be fine. However, if you are involved in an accident or wounder What to do if you witness a car accident? or if you’re injured, call us for a free consultation.
Our Toll-Free number is 1-877-526-3457. If now isn’t a good time, fill out this form and we will be happy to contact you at your desired time.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law