Parking lots can be dangerous places, especially this winter with so much ice and snow in so many places across the country. A nurse at an Illinois hospital was recently killed by a snowplow in the hospital parking lot. How can your company avoid tragedies like this as well as other parking lot accidents in its facilities?
One problem with parking lots is that drivers feel they can let their guard down because they’re no longer on the road. However, according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association, 20 percent of insurance claims were related to parking lot accidents. The problem is twofold—limited visibility and distraction. A full parking lot makes it hard for drivers to see hazards. As well, drivers entering or leaving parking spaces have severely constrained visibility.
Distractions are a major issue. When people get into their cars, they do all kinds of things such as fiddling with the radio, checking their phones, or starting up their GPS. Unfortunately, many of these activities take place as they are backing up or driving in the parking lot. As a result, they may not see pedestrians, who may also be distracted—especially by their phones—as they walk.
All of these hazards are made considerably worse in inclement weather, so share these parking lot safety tips with employees:
- Do everything you need to do (adjusting seat, mirrors, etc.) before you exit the parking space.
- When walking in a parking lot, stay to the sides of the aisle and watch for cars.
- Do not talk on the phone or use headphones in a parking lot.
- Obey parking lot speed limits and lane designations; don’t cut diagonally across the lot.
- When walking in an icy lot (or any lot for that matter) make eye contact with an approaching driver. Stop if you don’t think the driver has seen you.
- Wear boots or shoes with nonslip soles and good ankle support. If necessary, carry your work shoes with you and change inside.
- Snow muffles engine sounds; don’t rely solely on hearing to know if a vehicle is coming. Electric and hybrid vehicles are especially quiet.