Navigating parking lot madness during holiday shopping season

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - With Black Friday just days away, crowds are expected to pack malls across America. But before they get inside, they'll have to contend with anxious drivers in parking lots.

"Just be careful and watch where you're going," urged Marcello Lalama, property manager at Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport. "That's the best thing you could do."

Lalama said 50-60,000 shoppers are expected to pass through the mall's doors over the course of the upcoming weekend.

"Whenever I get here, I just want to go back home because I don't even want to try to find a parking place and then walk forever," said Sam Kennedy, who has abandoned her old Black Friday shopping routine.

According to AAA data, in 2016, 29 percent of all car accidents happened in parking lots.

Ahead of the shopping season, AAA has issued its "Parking Lot Survival Guide."

The tips include learning to play the "outfield." Officials suggest parking further away will help people avoid a possible crash, and steer clear of the pressure from impatient shoppers to find the perfect spot.

The other tips from the guide include the following:

-Drive slowly inside parking lots and garages
-Stay off your mobile device and always watch for pedestrians and other vehicles
-Back out slowly from your parking spaces, especially if you're near large vehicles
-If you feel comfortable doing so, back into your parking space
-See and be seen: use your headlights when searching for spaces in parking garages - even during the daytime
-Don't trap yourself: avoid parking between a pair of big trucks or minivans
-Keep an eye out for pedestrians and small children
-Always wear your seatbelt