While many people are now doing all their holiday shopping online, the retail stores and shopping malls are still crowded, and their parking lots congested.

According to the National Safety Council, parking lots are the sites of thousands of injuries each year, hundreds of which are fatal. Here are a few of the most common risks.

Distracted drivers

Participants in one public opinion poll admitted to using their phones to talk, text, program their GPS, access social media, send and receive emails and take pictures while driving in parking lots. This may seem ironic, considering the fact that those drivers have recently been or are about to be pedestrians themselves.

Bad driving behaviors

In addition to distracted driving, here are actions drivers take that put pedestrians in danger:

  • Driving too fast
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Cutting across lanes
  • Ignoring signs and directional markings on the ground

Backing vehicles

Backing vehicles pose exceptional risks for pedestrians, especially children. Before getting into a vehicle, a driver should do a quick walk around the outside to make sure there are no low-lying objects nearby.

Many vehicles now have back-up cameras and sensors that show videos and beep or flash when there is a vehicle, person or object in the path. However, it is never a good idea to completely rely on technology. Drivers should also do a head check and a mirror check before beginning to back out of a parking spot.

Other hazards

Vehicles are not the only threats to pedestrians. People on foot should also watch out for slipping and tripping hazards such as ice, cracks in the pavement and potholes. Areas with no signs or directional markings on the ground are areas to avoid.

Poor lighting can be a fall hazard, but it can also pose a security threat. It is best to park in well-lit areas that have obvious surveillance equipment, when possible.