Parking lot rage can cause accidents

Lawton_There's only four more shopping days until Christmas and the signs are everywhere.  So, getting a close spot to your favorite shop is scarce lately.  For some of us the experience of getting through the parking lot can be stressful - and people can become irrational - some calling it parking lot road rage.

Police officers can't do much to enforce safe driving on private property; all they can do is be there if any crimes happen and be a visual presence reminding shoppers that they're being watched.  A few holiday shoppers say people "drive like they've lost their minds".

If you're like some drivers, you like the closest space to the front door.  The object is to get to that spot by any means necessary - even if it means playing dirty.  This kind of aggressive driving can be stressful for more conservative drivers.  "It makes me want to stay home and out of the madness," says Rainy Schwengle.  But, she's a last minute shopper so it's not going to happen that way for her this season.

Cautious driver Janette Gardener says it's best to hit the streets with a clear mind - especially in crowded conditions - or to just stay home and avoid conflict all together.  "I have a lot more patience," she says.  "And I just think there's other things in life to be concerned just have to take your time."

The Lawton Police Department says during this time of year, they patrol parking lots more often to help with the holiday madness when they can.  The only ticket an officer can write, though, is for reckless driving and parking in a handicapped spot.  Some larger shopping centers, like Wal Mart, have their own security to help out, but for the most part, in a lot of parking lots, you're on your own.

So, be careful and always watch for the other driver.  The LPD adds that you should be courteous, obey right of ways and make sure you drive in the correct flow of traffic.  Patrol officers say crime and accidents in parking lot areas go up this time of year - so, Drive Safely.