Home  ›  News Blog

Christmas shopping parking tips

Parking charges can sometimes cost more than some Christmas presents. But if you plan well, you can get all your shopping done without breaking the bank on parking.

If you are planning on making a day of getting all your Christmas shopping done, follow these tips from the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ RoadSmart division.

1. Have a look and see if your town has special offers on parking around the festive season – some have reduced rates on certain days and for late night shopping.
2. Think about where you leave your vehicle in a multi-storey car park. Always choose your space based on when you plan to return. It’s never nice to return to the only car left on the top floor of a now relatively empty car park.
3. At any one time, 30% of drivers are in city centres searching for a parking space, and on average it takes 10-15 minutes to find somewhere to park. During busy periods, that time frame gets even bigger. So make sure you factor the time it will take to get parked up into your plan for the day.
4. Choose a car park which has a certificate backed by the police for safety, such as Park Mark whose car parks use clear directional signage and traffic flow techniques like one-way circulation so drivers are not confused about which way to go. Pedestrian access and exit routes are clearly indicated with signage and controlled routes such as painted paths, which help to keep you safe. A car park finder is available at http://www.parkmark.co.uk/car-park-finder
5. Try to avoid returning to your vehicle to leave your presents while you continue on. Thieves are watching for this sort of thing. Leaving valuables in a car is never a good idea, especially after you’ve spent all that time and effort on choosing the right gifts.
6. Some car parks are not as well-lit as others, so it’s a good idea to put your lights on and give your eyes time to adjust to the different light level. Keep a look out for pedestrians thinking more about their shopping than their safety – especially excited children.
7. Choose your parking neighbours and space carefully. A car which is looked after and in good condition is less likely to have a door open into yours. Also, although never on purpose, a car with child seats in it might have children who are not quite as careful in charge of the door.
8. Reverse park or drive in? Use the option which suits you best. If you need to put your shopping in the boot when you return, consider driving into the space. Reverse parking is not always the best solution.
9. Avoid leaving your ticket in the car and make sure you put it somewhere safe. Maybe take a quick photo so you have all the details to hand just in case you lose it.
10. If you have used a pay and display car park, set an alarm on your phone to remind you when your time runs out. It is all too easy to let time slip by without you noticing.

“As Christmas approaches, it becomes more difficult to pop into the town centre, parking spaces can be in short supply and a queue to get in or out takes away from the pleasure of choosing a gift,” IAM Roadsmart’s Head of Driving & Riding Standards, Richard Gladman, said. “Park and ride is often a good option, and some local authorities will set up a scheme especially for Christmas. If you are able, avoid the weekend – it is often easier to find a space when most people are dealing with their daily commute.”
Date posted: 4th, December, 2017