Many people look forward to Black Friday every year – it’s an opportunity to hit the stores with family and friends after Thanksgiving and to score some major deals on holiday gifts. But packed stores and parking lots can lead to a lot of dangerous situations, and sometimes does. There have even been incidences when people have gotten seriously hurt during Black Friday crowds.
But there is a way to shop and be safe at the same time, even when you’re dealing with crowds. With a few tips from experts and survivalists, you can ensure that your Black Friday experience doesn’t end poorly.
When driving in the dark follow some safety tips.
If you’re heading out to get some of the best sales, chances are you’re going to have to set out in darkness. Driving at night can be a dangerous situation and it’s important to keep on your toes. Give other drivers more space as they may be tired and be sure not to dazzle them with your lights. Give yourself plenty of time to get there so you’re not rushing.
Know how to keep safe in a crowd
Paul Wertheimer, an expert on crowd control, told World Nomad that if you find yourself in a crowd that seems to be on the verge of a stampede, there are a few actions you can take. Stay on your feet, don’t use any more energy than you have to, and keep your hands up by your chest to protect it.
Experiencing an emergency and need to get out of the crowd fast? The best way to do so is by asking the people around you to crowd surf you out.
Prepare yourself for being involved in a stampede
Although you want to do everything you can to avoid being in a stampede situation, sometimes, it’s out of your control. If a stampede is happening, Wertheimer says you should use something called the accordion method.
“After you’re pushed forward, like in a wave there’s a lull. In that lull is your chance to move, and the way you move is on a diagonal, between pockets of people,” he said. “There’s always space between people. A couple of steps sideways, another wave surge, then another couple of steps in the next lull. You work your way out that way till you get to the periphery.”
Wear a crossbody bag
Big crowds on a day where people are planning to drop a lot of money can definitely attract thieves and pickpockets, which is why it’s important to carry your money in your front pocket instead of in a wallet in your back pocket. And as Science of People suggests, if you carry a bag or purse, wear a crossbody bag – it’s a lot harder to steal than a bag on your shoulder.
Know how to avoid asphyxiation.
If you’re in one of those high crowd situations and you start feeling like you can’t breathe, there are a few things you can do to make it a bit better. According to what crowd behaviour specialist Edwin Galea told Reader’s Digest, if you fall, make sure you’re in a rigid fetal position with your arms up by your face, which will give your lungs room to breathe.
If you’re tired, just keep going
On Black Friday, you might end up exhausted. Thanksgiving can be tiring (especially if you were the one doing all the cooking) and chances are you’re shopping late at night or early in the morning without extra sleep.
If you’re not at a point where you’re willing to head home but you’re running low on energy, it’s better to just keep moving instead of sitting down to take a break – at least, according to what busy mum Pauline Campos told Healthline.
“I use momentum to keep moving forward, and try to sit still as little as possible,” Campos told the site. “If I stay focused on what I need to do, I can keep going until I can try for a better night’s sleep.
Be prepared for cold weather
If you’re shopping somewhere cold – which will probably be significantly colder in the middle of the night and early in the morning when sales begin – you need to be prepared, especially if you expect to spend time waiting outside stores for them to open. According to the Bugout Bag Guide, your best strategy is to dress in layers and keep your head covered, because that ensures that you’re keeping body heat in.
“Start off with a light wicking layer to keep perspiration away from your skin and build up from there,” survival expert Chris Ruiz wrote on the site. “Three to five layers are good for most adults. The outer layer should always be wind and waterproof to minimise heat exchange and keep water out.
Keep yourself hydrated and healthy.
Shopping is hard work, especially if you’re still feeling it from a big turkey feast from the night before. Keeping yourself hydrated and well-fed can stave off even more tiredness and irritability, keeping you alert and ready to scope out deals.
Know how to keep calm in high-stress situations.
Going to the mall can be sensory overload and can give even the calmest person a bit of anxiety. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try and remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t or just plain don’t want to lose your spot in line? Try these simple tricks to calm yourself down fast via Healthline.
When all else fails, shop online
Sometimes the safest way to experience Black Friday is by not leaving your house at all. Of course, some deals require you to show up in person, but you may have a better time sticking to what you can buy online from the comfort of your own couch … especially once Cyber Monday rolls around.