ST LOUIS, Mo. (KNWA/KFTA) — More shopping, distractions, the sky getting dark earlier and criminals can make parking lots more dangerous during the holidays. American Automobile Association offers tips on how to keep you and your vehicle safe.

According to a press release, AAA insurance data shows that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas sees the highest number of auto insurance claims from accidents.

To avoid these accidents, specifically in parking lots, AAA offers these tips:

  • Be aware of the hazards around you in a parking lot, including pedestrians and moving vehicles
  • Don’t Drive Intoxicated. While searching for a parking spot, don’t make or take phone calls, read or send texts and emails, use social media or take photos or videos
  • Drive slowly and obey all traffic and directional signs
  • Avoid shortcuts such as cutting across parking lanes and rows of parking spots
  • Watch for pedestrians and other vehicles when slowly backing up  
  • Be extra alert for small children, pets, and parents pushing baby strollers in parking lots
  • Turn on your headlights, even in the daylight and especially when driving through dark parking garages

They also give tips on how to avoid getting locked out of your vehicle:

  • Never leave car keys or key fob inside the vehicle’s passenger compartment even when helping a passenger or child into the vehicle
  • Stay focused. Don’t become distracted while getting in or out of your vehicle in the parking lot
  • Exit your vehicle with your car keys or key fob in hand and use the key fob security system to lock doors
  • Place car keys or key fob in your pocket or purse when stowing or unloading packages in the trunk
  • Always double-check you have keys in your hand, pocket or purse before exiting the vehicle or before closing the trunk

Lastly, their tips to prevent crimes occurring to your vehicle are as follows:

  • Always lock your vehicle with the windows closed. Even if you park your vehicle in a garage, this simple measure is added security.
  • Never leave belongings or purchases out in the open of your car since they could tempt thieves. Even empty shopping bags, sunglasses, coins or a change of clothes might look interesting to a thief.
  • Never leave your keys in your vehicle or leave your vehicle running any time you are not in it
  • Park in populated, well-lit areas
  • Never hide a spare ignition key on the vehicle. Thieves look for keys in popular hiding places like inside a car bumper or wheel well.
  • Store your key fobs in a metal container when at home. The metal provides a barrier that interrupts radio signals to/from the smart fob, preventing potential hackers from opening your vehicle.