This is a guest blog from Rebecca at Parking Sign Corner. She has shared some good holiday tips with us, so please read on:
There is no other time of year in America when the roads, highways and parking lots are as busy with automobiles and buses as they are during the winter holiday season. We’re shopping for presents, we’re eating more meals at restaurants, we’re visiting friends and family, we’re getting snow tires put on our cars, we’re rushing to the store at the last minute crossing fingers they have just one snow shovel left! And don’t forget trips to the doctor when a nasty cold strikes. Those are the worst trips of all for sure. But the one thing each of these ventures has in common is the increase in traffic, which automatically makes things trickier, and the decrease in parking spaces available once we arrive at our destination. ParkingSignCorner.com has put together a list of tips to keep in mind when navigating holiday traffic, and safely parking your vehicle during this busy season. We hope this list helps make the holidays a little less stressful, and a lot more happy, as happiness is truly what it’s all about!
1. Get yourself situated before you leave your driveway. Make sure you’re buckled in, your coat isn’t obstructing your ability to turn your head and your wheel, and that you’re just generally ‘comfortable’. You don’t want to be tugging at coat sleeves and fussing with scarves and mittens once you’re on the road. I also find it’s a good idea to keep calming tunes in my car during the holidays, whether it’s favorite Christmas classics, or music that soothes me in general. A little singing along makes a car ride much more enjoyable!
2. As important as it is to ensure that you are ready for the road, make sure your car is ready as well. Check windows for fogging or ice before pulling out! Make sure your tire pressure is safe, and your windshield washer fluid full. You don’t have to check this every day, but with temperature changes I take a peek at my tires about once a week. I also keep some spare snacks in the car just in case hunger strikes and my journey takes longer than expected.
3. Be mindful of the increase in drivers and pedestrians, especially if you live in a town or city that invites out-of-towners for shopping or entertainment. During the holiday season many new faces flock to towns with interesting shops, theaters, or holiday attractions. These people aren’t as familiar with your roads, and may be making quick stops or turns, or crossing the street at less than ideal locations. Keep alert, and try not to be too frustrated. After all, they came to where you live because it’s fun and festive!
4. Pay attention to parking signs, particularly no parking signs! You may be the one that’s checking out new cities, and unfamiliar territory can lead to some questionable parking if you aren’t in the know about the best places to park. If possible, do a bit of online research before you leave to see if there are parking garages or lots near where you’ll be visiting. Many businesses even outline nearby meter parking if that is the best option, and some even tell you where not to park. A good rule of thumb is to not park somewhere you aren’t sure about, whether you aren’t sure if you can legally park there, or you aren’t sure if it’s a safe place to leave your vehicle. It can be quite stressful to seemingly drive in circles looking for a space, but it’s a loss less stressful than slashed tires or a ticket!
5. Once you’ve found a place you’re sure you can park, look around for lights. If it’s likely that you’ll be returning to your vehicle after the sun has set, you won’t want to be returning to a dark alley or dark corner of a parkade. Park as close to streetlights or parkade lights as possible, and have your keys in your hand so you can get in your car as fast as possible. Walk quickly and assuredly; be aware of your surroundings by keeping your head up and your eyes scanning the scene, and whenever you can, walk with a friend. If you have no choice but to walk alone, keeping pepper spray at the ready is a smart idea. Just be sure you know how to use it beforehand!
6. Have your cell phone in your pocket. I always have my phone in my pocket as I want the chances for losing it to be as minimal as possible. It’s an unfortunate fact that some of the most skilled pickpockets and muggers are among us during this season of hustle and bustle. If you have your phone in your pants pocket where it would be very tricky to swipe without you noticing, at least you’ll have a connection to friends, family and police should your purse, backpack, or wallet be stolen.
7. When you do park your car, ensure that all valuables are out of sight. Don’t invite a thief – make your car as unappealing as possible for a potential break-in. If you’re out shopping, keep purchases in the trunk. Listening to music? Keep CDs and music players in your glove compartment or under your seat. Tuck away pricy gloves, that cup of change so many of us have, anything and everything that someone might see as a good enough reason to break into your vehicle.
8. Last but not least – have fun! Take some time for yourself this season. The inbox at work isn’t going to stop filling, but it’s not going anywhere either. The holidays are first and foremost about togetherness, and there’s a lot more memories to be made with friends and family then there are to be made working overtime on Christmas Eve.
Thank you, Rebecca, for these helpful pointers. Most of us have limited time to do our shopping, and we want it to be a pleasant and safe experience.