Interactive: Is that parking lot as safe as you think?

As you arrive at work, you scan the bustling parking lot for an open space. Spotting one down the aisle, you jolt forward, allowing your thoughts to drift towards today’s calendar: a quick check-in with sales this morning followed by a progress update from marketing. Your presentation for the afternoon team meeting is pretty much finished—but did you swap out those charts with the new…

Suddenly headlights glare across your windshield and the car opposite your open space lurches toward you. You slam on the brakes and grip the steering wheel. The car quickly pulls through the connected spaces and drives away, allowing you to park and start your day.

Sound familiar? Close calls are all too common in parking lots and parking garages. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 14% of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. Even at slow speeds, parking lot fender benders can cause serious damage, especially when pedestrians are involved. Luckily, companies can implement safety measures to help prevent accidents.

Parking lot maintenance

Your parking lot provides customers, visitors, and employees with a convenient way to access your business. However, a poorly maintained and designed parking lot not only puts drivers and pedestrians in danger, it may also be a source of liability. To help keep drivers and pedestrians safe, businesses should put the following parking lot safety measures in place:

  1. Clear entrances and exits. Keep entrances and exits well-marked and free of obstacles that can interfere with drivers’ sight lines. Make sure all entryways are compliant with both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  2. Keep the area brightly lit. All areas should be well-lit, including walkways, steps, and the building perimeter. Test parking lot and perimeter lights frequently, timing them to turn on at dusk.
  3. Make signage visible. Make sure signs and parking spaces are easy to read by using a high-visibility color. Check driver sight lines to ensure that signs, shrubbery, etc. do not impede vision.
  4. Eliminate hiding places. Did you know that more than 1 in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots? Check for any foliage, signs, or poorly lit corners that may create hiding places for intruders.
  5. Reduce tripping hazards. Keep driving and walking surfaces free of potholes and large cracks that may trip pedestrians or cause vehicle damage. Keep storm water drain grates flush with walking surfaces.
  6. Mark height changes. Clearly mark curb edges, wheelchair ramps, steps, and shopping cart ramps to improve visibility. Be sure to be compliant with local codes.
  7. Weatherproof the space. During inclement weather, plow and treat parking areas and surrounding walkways with de-icers and sand before building occupants arrive. Ensure that steps have a nonslip surface and are clear of ice, snow, water, grease, etc.
  8. Maintain good housekeeping. Keep the entire lot clean and clear, including nearby benches, pavilions, plant basins, trash receptacles, and shrubbery.
  9. Contain shopping carts. Where applicable, shopping cart corrals should be easily accessible throughout the parking lot. Parking areas should be checked frequently for stray carts.
  10. Protect employees. If a parking lot attendant is working on site, ensure that he or she has a clear view of the entire lot and can easily communicate with security as needed.

By implementing measures that reduce the likelihood of incidents among drivers, pedestrians, and employees, companies can improve parking lot safety. Visit Liberty Mutual Insurance to learn more about protecting your business.

This article was produced on behalf of Liberty Mutual by Quartz creative services and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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