Holiday shopping dangers: AAA says majority of drivers parking wrong

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 'Tis the season of packed malls and busy parking lots, which can be dangerous places.

AAA is warning that most drivers are parking the wrong way, and cars backing out of spaces can lead to crashes.

The majority of people park by taking the vehicles nose in first, which AAA says actually puts pedestrians at risk. Drivers backing out of parking spaces or driveways kill more than 200 people and injure 15,000 each year. The correct way, experts say, is to back into a spot so that you can pull out forward.

There are new technologies designed to mitigate the dangers, but AAA says its tests showed that back-up cameras and other advances don't always work. The results shows that systems failed to detect passing vehicles 30 percent of the time and passing bicycles 40 percent of the time.

"Understand your car, but never let the technology replace you being a safe driver," AAA automotive engineer John Nielsen said.

It can also be tough to find a spot, leading to people driving and looking around without paying 100 percent attention on the road. Experts say the best tip is to take the first open spot you see, and to look near less popular stores.

Or use a mathematician's theory -- pick an aisle with at least 10 cars on each side, and wait. Within nine minutes, someone should come out and leave.
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