With the holidays around the corner, Hyattsville residents are urged to use caution as roadways and parking lots fill with seasonal travelers.
“The closer we get to Christmas, the worse the traffic is going to get,” said Sgt. Chris Purvis of the .
Despite the increasing number of cars on the road, in Prince George’s County deaths resulting from car crashes have decreased between 2005 and 2009, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Holiday traffic jams also occur in parking lots as customers flock to local retail areas such as the and the to complete holiday shopping.
“[The mall parking lot] is always busy, but especially during the holidays,” said Natalie Gaudette, who lives and works at the across from the mall.
“It’s almost impossible to find a parking spot over there," she said. "I haven’t seen any accidents, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some, people are definitely aggressive drivers this time of year.”
Of all car accidents resulting in damage claims, 20 percent occur in parking lots, according to an AAA press release.
Parking lots are also prime areas for theft, according to Purvis. The Hyattsville Police Department encourages drivers to register vehicles with the Maryland “Watch Your Car” anti-theft program.
“This time of year you need to always have a shopping plan [to prevent auto-theft],” he said. “If you’re going to drop off purchases in your car and continue shopping, make sure to keep them hidden. Out of sight, out of mind.”