Caitlin Moran
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Tips for Driving, Parking, and Loading on Black Friday

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If there was ever an actual Hunger Games, I’m pretty positive it would look a whole lot like Black Friday. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, millions of consumers gather outside various stores and malls to battle it out with each other for the best deals. Fueled by coffee, competition, and some seriously awesome deals, Black Friday tends to be hectic—especially when you’re out on the road or in a parking lot. To make sure you stay safe while getting the best deals, here are some tips for driving, parking, and loading on Black Friday.

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Tips for Driving on Black Friday

Traffic on Black Friday can be just as crazy as the stores are inside. To help make the driving experience safer—and easier—for you and your fellow shoppers, here are a few tips for driving.

Avoid Distractions

Using a cell phone, eating your breakfast, and drinking coffee are all major driving distractions that you should avoid on a daily basis—but this is even truer on Black Friday.  Keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Place your phone in your glovebox and save your coffee for when you’re waiting outside the store.

Be Cautious

It’s important to be cautious no matter where you’re driving during Black Friday. A lot of people are in a rush to get to stores because they think they won’t be able to get the deal of their dreams. This means a lot of drivers aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing, cutting off others and running yellow lights. Even if you have a green light, look both ways before entering an intersection to ensure there are no cars running a red.

Keep Your Distance

You should always have decent amount of distance between you and the car in front of you in case it stops quickly. The recommended distance is a car length for every 10 mph.

Plan Ahead

Before you even leave the house, you should have a driving (and shopping route) in mind. This will keep you from dealing with more traffic than you need to. Also, check out your GPS and other mapping apps to see what traffic conditions are like in the areas you are planning on going to.


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Black Friday Parking

Tips for Parking on Black Friday

Parking lots on Black Friday are busier than a bee hive, making them a nightmare to drive in. If you follow these three easy tips, though, your Black Friday parking experience will be slightly easier than normal.

Look Before You Leave

Backing out in a parking lot during the busiest shopping day of the year is a bit like playing Russian roulette with cars. According to, 25% of parking lot accidents are caused by backing out. Look behind you, stay alert when you’re in reverse, and make sure you back out slowly so other vehicles can see you.

Get Your Exercise

You ate toooons of food the day before Black Friday, so why not work it out? Parking far away from your destination is actually a great idea. Not only does it help you work off some of those extra calories, but it also reduces your risk of getting into an accident. The farther out you go, the less likely it is that people will fight you for a spot.

Stay Calm

It’s happened to us all. We’ve patiently waited for a parking spot in the busy mall parking lot, and are about to park when some butt face decides to swerve in front of you, taking your spot. It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. And typically, it’s the last straw in an already stressful day. If you find yourself in this situation, or something similar, try to stay calm no matter what. Practice counting to 10, taking deep breaths, and reminding yourself that you will always find another spot.


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Tips for Loading on Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the best times to get big items. Whether you’re purchasing a new TV for 70% off, replacing your fridge, or splurging on a new stove, the Black Friday deals on these items are typically the best of the year—but they can be a huge pain to load, especially with busy traffic. Here are a few tips to make loading your items on Black Friday easier.

Go Towards the Light

No, not in the way you’re thinking. I’m talking about parking in well-lit areas. Not only will it be easier to find your car when you’re done shopping, but it also makes it easier to see when you’re loading your vehicle full of your goodies.

Hide Your Purchases

Leaving your new purchases out in plain sight is just asking for someone to break in and steal them. Rather than leaving your goods out in plain sight, hide them. Place them in your trunk, under cargo covers, and use blankets to hide the items if they are in the backseat.

Pick Big Items Up Later

If you’re planning on elbowing your way to some of the great doorbuster deals on larger items—think TVs—then try and see if you can pick up the items the next day. While it’s not likely you can, it’s always worth the shot!

…But if You Can’t

Don’t worry! Before you load the big item, talk to the associate helping you about the best place to load that is out of the way of traffic and other shoppers. I suggest using a side or back entrance for this, if need be. If there isn’t one, then load your car as quickly as possible—you don’t want to cause a traffic jam and anger other shoppers.