Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Parking lots are holiday “danger zones”

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EDMOND, Okla. - Crowded shopping center parking lots often resemble a demolition derby during the hectic holidays.

"It's a free for all today, because Thanksgiving is tomorrow, even worse Friday, because it's going to be Black Friday. There's a potential for danger there," said Sgt. James Hamm.

Hamm said there are thousands of accidents every year.

"We go to parking lot wrecks everyday. There is not a day that we don't respond to one or two wrecks."

Too often, motorists are more focused on the holiday bargains than the safety of other shoppers.

"Because everyone is always in a hurry and they don't pay attention, because they are too busy texting on their phone maybe," said shopper Lisa Bogues.

Police see major damage to vehicles and, even worse, injuries to pedestrians.

Alex Wiedenmann recalls an accident he witnessed.

"A guy was pulling out of his parking space, and there was a man walking behind his car and he ran into him."

Triple A offers these suggestions to avoid the parking lot mayhem:

  1. Use your headlights day and night. It makes it easier for others to see you.
  2. Avoid parking between tall SUVS or pick ups which might impede your view backing out.
  3. Look for the little ones.

According to the NTSB, 22 percent of of children ages 5 through 9 killed in traffic accidents are pedestrians.

"That is terrifying. Parents should be holding the children hand going through parking," said parent Teresa Wiedenmann.

Drivers and pedestrians simply paying attention can prevent the holiday heartache.

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