Photo via Pixabay.
Photo via Pixabay.

Thanksgiving means the start of the holiday shopping season, and that also means packed shopping malls and chaotic parking lots that can be major hazards for motorists, officials with the Automobile Club of Southern California and state Department of Insurance warned Tuesday.

“Our auto claims data shows that two of the days with the highest number of auto claims occur during this time of year — the day before Thanksgiving and the Friday before Christmas,” according to Kathy Sieck, senior vice president of public affairs for the Auto Club of Southern California.

According to the Auto Club and Department of Insurance, 14 percent of all collisions occur in parking lots and can often lead to expensive insurance claims. Officials said distractions such as cell phones and the radio are a major contributor, but a rush to find a parking in a packed lot also leads to an uptick in accidents.

“A moment of distraction or poor judgment can lead to tragedy,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. “The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to pay attention and be aware of hazards in busy parking lots.”

Officials said motorists spend only 1 percent of their time driving in reverse, but backing up — such as out of a parking space — results in 25 percent of crashes.

— Wire reports 

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