’Tis the Season for Parking Lot Safety
The approaching holidays mean there are more shoppers and store employees in parking lots—which could also mean a potential uptick in accidents due to the increased car and foot traffic. Facility owners owe it to themselves, their workers, and their patrons to make safety a top priority to usher in a happy, healthy holiday for all.
Per the National Safety Council, tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garages annually, resulting in thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities. Such a high number of accidents can cost facility owners dearly in terms of money, reputation, and insurance claims. To offset potential parking lot hazards, facility owners should follow these 5 safety tips:
- Establish a clear traffic flow.
There’s a lot of activity in parking lots, especially during high-shopping seasons. Drivers are pulling in, backing out, idling, while pedestrians are walking to and from their cars. That’s why it’s important to keep traffic moving in a consistent direction, especially around blind spots. On walls, employ visible, simple signage and directional arrows; on the ground, use reflective striping and paint to identify two-way traffic, parking spaces, emergency lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks.
- Install safety equipment.
Once they enter a parking lot, drivers often let their guard down as they start scanning for an open spot. Installing the right safety equipment can bring them back to full attention. Use speed bumps and rumble strips near entries and straightaways to enforce slow speeds. Separate pedestrian traffic from car traffic with bollards. Install parking stops that prevent drivers from pulling too far into spots and potentially damaging their cars.
- Provide adequate lighting.
Proper lighting has a two-fold benefit: preventing accidents and crime. Go for metal, halide lighting that provides bright white illumination and much truer color. Enhance lighting in elevators and stair towers. The intervals in which lights are spaced should also ensure a certain amount of overlap to eliminate shadows and ensure that no area is ever under-illuminated—a good practice for both inside and outside the parking facility.
- Maintain level ground.
Nothing trips up your shopping patrons more than uneven ground, so make sure potholes are filled in and cracks are sealed to prevent slips and falls. Routinely check striping and paint to make sure it’s still bright and visible; touch up any faded areas as necessary.
- Integrate a weather plan. Since the holidays mean cold, wintry weather in much of the country, ensure your lot is ready for inclement conditions. If it snows, shovel and de-ice walkways, entries, and exits to avoid slick or icy patches that can lead to accidents. If you’re in the initial facility planning phase, consider designing your lot with a 2% grade in each direction so water drains away and doesn’t re-ice after clearing.
When you run a business where drivers and pedestrians converge, it’s important to employ safety measures that take both groups into consideration. For more innovative insurance solutions to usher in a bright and prosperous New Year, turn to ProSight.
—Alex Best, Value Creation Executive, Parking Facilities