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'Tis the season for crazy shopping crowds -- stay safe out there

While we've made it through the madness of Black Friday for this year, the crazy shopping season is long from over, and with it come some very specific increased risks. For us here in New York, sooner or later the snow that's been hanging out over Buffalo will drift our way and make the roads icier and more prone to accidents.

Beyond the inclement weather, congested shopping areas require some specific kinds of planning to make the most of your shopping time and avoid common risks of injury or property damage.

Many distractions equal many opportunities for injury and damage

When you're headed to a busy shopping area, staying safe starts in the parking lot. If you are parking before it is dark out, be mindful of how well lit your parking spot may be. It is also wise to check under your vehicle and in the back seat before getting back in.

It might seem crazy to be choosy about parking when it's hard to come by, but for smaller vehicles, be mindful of parking between two much taller vehicles. You may render yourself invisible to other parking-garage drivers when pulling out.

Parking lots may seem like low risk areas, but this is not factually accurate. Even if you are only going from one parking lot to another, you can easily be an accident severe enough to cause injury. It is wise to treat a parking lot like you would and street, and observe seatbelt laws and other safety regulations like car seats for kids.

Shop defensively for greater safety

The fact of the matter is that there going to be many, many people headed exactly where you are headed, at the same time, and they'll be in a rush.

Distracted people cause accidents, that's just the way it is. You may not be able to keep everyone else from being distracted, but you can make sure that you're doing your best to compensate.

Consider parking a little further out in the lot, away from most of the bustle. This can give you more room to breathe and less stress competing with those fighting up at the front. Be mindful though, if the lot is poorly lit further out.

When making your way to the store, try to stay out of traffic lanes as much as possible - especially if there are available sidewalks. The less you can put yourself in the path of car traffic or vehicles that may be pulling out, the better.

No one is going to keep you safe but you

It is not reasonable to expect that other people will take a greater interest in your wellbeing than you will. It is greatly advisable to take the proper precautions to keeps yourself safe as things get extra-hectic for the next few weeks.

Still, even those that are being mindful of dangers have accidents. If you are injured this holiday season, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney to evaluate whether you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and losses.

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