Shahe KoulloukianThe holidays are here and everyone gets excited to get the shopping season started, which can be fun and fulfilling. But it’s also a time when cars become treasure troves for thieves. Make sure you are aware of all the added traffic, over-excited children distracting drivers and increased number of shoppers trying to beat deadlines. It’s a time to take holiday safety into consideration

When it comes to shopping, during the holidays, it seems that people are highly divided. There are some who can’t get enough of the hype along with the loud flashy décor. There are some who simply want to stay at their computer to do all of it online.

No matter where you stand, we can agree that the ultimate value is safety. With a little diligence and patience, you can follow a few car safety tips to help you get through the holiday season with all your gifts — and sanity — intact.


You know the parking lots are going to become crowded with people rushing to finish their holiday shopping. There are a few steps you can take to avoid dents, dings and other holiday mishaps. Start by parking in the Hinterlands…Yes, Hinterlands! It may be a bit of a walk, but it’s a lot less time then driving around in circles looking for a VIP parking spot. First, you won’t have to stress out or fight someone for a parking spot. Second, you will minimize the chances of your car getting dinged from a stray shopping cart or carelessly opened doors. If you’re shopping at night, make sure you’re in a well-lit location. Always be aware of your surroundings when approaching the car.


You know very well that items left in plain view are more likely to get stolen. It may seem like a hassle to keep opening and closing your trunk, but thieves will not waste time to open trunks without knowing what’s inside.


Just like armored cars have set hours to drop off money at banks, you can do the same by dropping off your gifts at home. Don’t procrastinate and try and do all your shopping at 5 different locations all on the same day. If you’ve purchased a big-ticket item or have completed a big shopping trip and need to go somewhere else, make a detour home to drop off your purchases. A few minutes of your time could save you a ton of money and lots of holiday disappointment Yes, yes, yes…your too busy! But you won’t be too busy to file a police report when your vehicle has been broken into.


Professional thieves know that during the holiday shopping, you may not leave items in your vehicle but you will leave receipts and your personal information in your center console and glove box. Finding old receipts with credit card information or auto repair receipts with your address, phone number and family contact names is prime information to be used for identity theft or to follow you home to hit your house for all your expensive gifts. Take all your important documents and put them in a large zip lock bag and tuck it away in your trunk. After all, if you get into an accident or pulled over, you will still need your registration and insurance information.


Most vehicles have a two-stage unlocking process. The first press unlocks the driver’s door only, while the second press unlocks the rest. Make sure to use this function if you are traveling alone to minimize the chances of someone jumping in the passenger side.


It’s not how most of us do it, but you will make a safer exit if you back into a parking space, rather than heading into it. “Pulling out of a parking spot, instead of reversing, is an easy way to increase safety and visibility in busy parking lots this holiday season. Just make sure the parking lot isn’t too hectic so that you’ll have room to back in.


Dressing up is wonderful to get into the spirit of the holiday shopping, but avoid all the glamorous jewelry, even the fake ones! Save the jewelry for the office and family parties as thief’s judge their targets on what they see.


Before you get to your vehicle, have your keys out and ready, don’t fumble in your person looking for them while you’re loaded with merchandise in the middle of a parking lot. Avoid large long strap purses, keep it small and simple making it difficult to snatch and run.


So you know you have good car insurance, but do you have comprehensive coverage? Most consumers are not aware of this coverage. Basically, comprehensive covers damage to your car caused by events that are out of your control. It covers things like theft, vandalism, glass and windshield damage, fire, accidents with animals, weather/acts of nature, etc. Sure you don’t want it to happen to you, but if does, your covered! Make that call to check your coverage in case your vehicle gets targeted.

Remember, you will never regret having taken holiday safety into consideration!