Once you’ve found some unbeatable deals and set your alarm to 3am, what’s next? Unfortunately, the great deals offered on the day after Thanksgiving come at a cost for your safety. Between the year 2006 and 2016, a reported 10 deaths and 111 injuries took place on Black Friday.
Despite these grim statistics, there are ways to shop safely on Black Friday. Take a look at the below tips before setting out on this year’s shopping extravaganza.
Map out your route.
There is an element of danger to not knowing exactly where you’re headed while sitting behind the wheel, but that danger is drastically increased on a day when mayhem covers the road in front of you. The average number of car accidents increases by 34% on Black Friday. Having a plan for the trip helps drivers keep their full attention on the road.
Don’t bring your children with you.
Aside from the fact that you likely plan to embark on your journey while the kids are still sound asleep, leaving them at home is safer for everyone. It is easy to lose sight of your child in a large department store on any day, let alone the busiest day of the year. Given the above statistic regarding Black Friday fatalities, you don’t want to be worrying about the safety of your child while reaching for that ridiculously underpriced smart TV. Additionally, this holiday is a hotbed for criminal activity. If you have to spend time buckling a child into their car seat, your purchases in the cart or trunk are left exposed to thieves far longer than they would be if you were alone.
It is one thing to drive carefully—by avoiding distractions, keeping your number of passengers to a minimum, and staying below the speed limit—but on a day when the number of drivers is increased and the national mood is frenzied, your immediate concern should be the behavior of the drivers next to you. This applies not only to fellow Black Friday shoppers, but also to anyone who happens to be on the road. By assuming that any car could abruptly enter your lane or come to a stop, you are actively training yourself to keep a reasonable distance of separation and to react at any time before a crash occurs.
Leave valuable items at home and keep your cash out of sight.
When you’re navigating through a crowd of people, it is easy to lose an earring or an item from a loosely-packed purse. The best solution is to leave everything of value at home. Keeping your cash zipped up and close by is the best way to avoid pick-pocketers. The good news? Fanny packs are trending this year, meaning you can be both practical and stylish while you shop.
Hide your purchases from potential thieves.
It is very uncommon for anyone to set out on Black Friday with the intention of only visiting one store, and items left inside cars are 40% more likely to be stolen on Black Friday than on any other day. With checkout lines that wrap around the building, the amount of time spent inside each store will be much higher than a typical shopping trip, leaving thieves to leisurely explore previous purchases in the back seats of each car in the parking lot. It’s scary to think about strangers looking into your car windows, but there is an easy solution to keeping your valuable purchases secure. Bring extra coats or blankets to cover your purchases in the back seat, or pack non-branded paper bags to transfer your merchandise into before entering the next store. Have a close friend who lives nearby? Consider asking them permission to be a pit stop in between destinations.
One last tip for the road…
Divide and conquer. Take multiple cars, because you’re going to fill them up anyway. Split up in each store and grab one item for each member in your party, because they’ll do the same for you. And finally, bring a willing teenager to hold the line for you, because they’ll appreciate the chance to pick out all of their gifts (and let’s face it, they’re going to text the whole time, either way.)
Share these Black Friday safety tips with your friends!