Nearly a million people live in Jacksonville, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if half of them were out driving this Black Friday. It’s one of the busiest days of the year to travel, which undoubtedly also makes it one of the most dangerous for drivers and pedestrians who are expecting to hear cha-ching at the register. Avoid the auto collision center this winter by following these essential Black Friday driving tips.
Make a Plan
On Thanksgiving night, grab the advertisements and start planning your Black Friday adventure. Choose the stores you want to check out, prioritizing each stop by deal. (Hint: If you want that killer deal on a new 55-inch 4K TV, it might be best to get in line yesterday.)
A great idea is to plan your Black Friday shopping in Jacksonville with a route-optimizing app or service. Mapquest has a great online tool that will save you time, and several mobile apps exist, including Route4Me and RoadWarrior. You can also simply punch the locations into your Honda GPS navigation system.
Leave Really Early
Most stores will open their doors early on Black Friday, meaning lines will be formed well before you’ve even sipped your morning coffee. If there’s a Black Friday sale you absolutely must get, prepare to get in that line hours before the store opens. In fact, some retail outlets will begin their Black Friday sales on Thursday, leaving you little time to gobble down the turkey.
An organized Black Friday driver is ready for everything. Clear out the trunk or cargo area before Black Friday. Install roof racks on your Honda SUV at least a week before the holiday. Bring snacks and water. If you have a child, ensure you have enough to keep them occupied, and also consider bringing a portable potty, just in case. Think of any plausible problem that could occur as you shop and attempt to have a solution ready.
Fill Up Your Gas Tank
Before you dig into your Thanksgiving meal, get your gas tank filled up in preparation for Black Friday. You don’t want to battle other drivers at the pump in the morning.
Know the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather throughout Thanksgiving. If rain is expected in the Jacksonville area, you can bet traffic will be heavier than a normal Black Friday. Take extra care while driving in the rain; turn your headlights on, distance yourself further back from the vehicle in front of you, don’t engage your cruise control, and watch for rogue shopping carts flying around parking lots.
Honda Sensing safety features like Collision Mitigation Braking and Honda LaneWatch may also help you avoid a crash on Black Friday.
Defensive Driving Reigns Supreme
The safest way to drive during Black Friday is by driving defensively. Look ahead of traffic, maintain a safe following distance, prepare for the unexpected, watch for merging vehicles, and be in the proper lane well in advance of turning. Remember: Treat others as you’d like to be treated, especially on Black Friday! If you see someone trying to cut into your lane, give them space to merge. Driving too aggressively causes far more accidents than driving too defensively—if that’s a thing.
Don’t fool yourself—you’re not getting to the store any faster by smashing the pedal to the floor. Slow and steady wins the Black Friday race.
Back Up Even SLOWER
On Black Friday, car crashes spike 34%. A majority of those car accidents happen in parking lots, either while backing up or parking. Many Black Friday accidents in parking lots are vehicle-on-vehicle, though a small portion results in pedestrian injuries or even death, particularly of children and the elderly.
All new Honda models come with a wide-angle rearview camera to aid drivers on Black Friday, and select new Honda trims also come with Cross Traffic Monitor, which alerts drivers to oncoming traffic when reversing out of a parking spot. However, it’s always best to take your time, regardless of the in-vehicle safety technology at your disposal.
Watch for Pedestrians
Millions of shoppers are about to converge on the malls in Jacksonville, and they expect you to keep them safe. Allow yourself extra time to check crosswalks, don’t speed through parking lots, look out for un-wrangled children, and remember to yield even when there’s no “yield” sign.
Honda’s Collision Mitigation Braking System is a must for drivers on Black Friday. The system activates when it detects a possible collision with a pedestrian (or vehicle); dash and head-up alert lights will flash, beeps will sound, steering wheels will vibrate—you know, all the warnings you’ll need to avoid making the news.
Expect to Park Far Away
While it’s exciting to find a parking spot close to the store, don’t count on it happening on Black Friday. When entering the parking lot, head straight to the back rows and park wherever you can. It’ll save you valuable shopping time, too.
Remember Your Parking Spot
Black Friday is not the time to forget where you parked. Put a digital pin on your vehicle’s location by using a mobile app.
Shop on Sunday
Black Friday extends well into the weekend, with Saturday, November 25 expected to be the second-busiest shopping day of the weekend. Sunday, however, will be more subdued, leaving you room to shop, save, and avoid the lines.
Put Down the Phone
Distracted driving is a huge issue that is only getting huger. Injuries stemming from the use of a mobile phone grow each year, even as advanced in-vehicle tech like hands-free calling and Honda Sensing systems become the norm. Many drivers are not taking it seriously, either, as anywhere from 50% to 70% of drivers call or text while in parking lots. Keep the phone tucked away this Black Friday, and you may very well save a life.
Have a Late Lunch
According to Waze, the busiest time to drive on Black Friday is around lunchtime (noon). Between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm, you should expect more cars on the streets and feet on the pavement as restaurants struggle to keep serving calories. Instead of joining the crowds, grab a late lunch.
Don’t Shop for Christmas Trees
Did you know that the top Google Maps search term on Black Friday is “Christmas tree farm”? More people are pining for pine the day after Thanksgiving than any other day in the season, meaning there will be chaos if you plan on chopping down a fir.
Black Friday Sales at Our Honda Dealerships
Throughout the holidays, Black Friday included, First Coast Honda Dealers will be having great deals on new Honda models and hand-picked used and CPO Honda vehicles. Visit your nearest dealership in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Lake City, Brunswick, or Waycross to find the best car at the best price this Black Friday. For more details, browse our current Honda specials or simply contact your chosen Honda dealership for details. Happy holidays and good luck!
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