Parking lots and garages are some of the most ubiquitous structures in every town or city. You probably walk through or across one when you leave the house and barely even notice it. Pedestrians and customers walk through the parking lot of your commercial property all the time.
This makes it even more important that you make sure every part of the structure, from the perimeter fences to the parking lot’s pavement, should be designed and built to promote the safety of pedestrians.
The first step to enhancing the safety of people walking through the parking lot of your commercial property is to identify the most common hazards and dangers. They generally fall into three categories: fall and tripping hazards, vehicular accidents, and criminal activities. The only way to make your parking lot safe for everyone is to address all these issues and implement the correct solutions accordingly.
Falls and Tripping Hazards
Research indicates that accidental falls are the most common cause of injury among people more than 65 years of age. These injuries happen to approximately 32% of the elderly population. Falls and trips could already lead to serious injuries among younger people, but they can be devastating to people in that age range. These incidents can also lead to fatalities and cause complicated injuries, resulting in the death of 41 out of 100,000 people annually.
Your parking lot could be harboring major falling and tripping hazards, like one of the following:
- Damaged or cracked cement surfaces, which could trip unsuspecting or busy pedestrians.
- Potholes and depressions caused by continuous weather exposure or low-quality materials.
- Uneven cement steps or stairs can catch pedestrians by surprise and cause them to fall.
- Unmarked depressions and steps can also cause serious injuries.
The only way to spot these types of hazards is to regularly inspect your parking lot or parking structure. Unless you detect and remedy them in time, pedestrians are in danger. Your business could also be put in jeopardy. As the owner of the lot, you are responsible for maintaining it and ensuring no harm comes to anyone walking through it. Without timely and appropriate solutions, you could be opening yourself to lawsuits and similar legal actions.
Here are some solutions you can employ to remove falling and tripping hazards from your property:
- Work with reliable concrete paving companies who use high-quality materials during construction. This is the best preemptive measure you can take to ensure cracks and potholes don’t appear on your parking lot.
- Immediately fill in any potholes or cracks that form on your parking lot surfaces. Every hour they’re not fixed could mean someone tripping because of them.
- Carefully measure all steps and stairs on the parking lot to check if they’re uneven. Make sure there’s adequate space on each step and that they’re completely level.
- Use fluorescent tape, neon paint, or signs to mark the borders of steps and sudden depressions. High-visibility markings and signs will warn pedestrians and make sure they don’t trip or fall.
Parking lots are supposed to be full of vehicles and naturally, this could lead to car accidents. One study discovered that up to 50,000 car accidents occur in parking lots annually. These vehicular incidents injure at least 60,000 people and lead to the deaths of approximately 500 people.
Because of the close quarters and limited room for maneuverability, driving through a parking area requires a lot of attention and focus. There’s also the matter that pedestrians are more common in parking lots and garages, unlike on major roads and highways.
Distracted drivers are the most common cause of car crashes in parking lots. But this doesn’t mean you can’t implement solutions to prevent vehicular accidents from occurring on your property.
- Use bright paint and fluorescent signages to mark lanes and space dividers. These visual reminders will help drivers focus on staying within their designated spaces and avoid colliding with pedestrians.
- Use neon paint to mark pedestrian lanes and crossings throughout your parking lot. This will help keep pedestrians out of the way of drivers.
- If you have the space for it, completely separate lanes for cars and pedestrians. Have concrete and paving experts install raised sidewalks, and paint the curb bright colors.
- If you have a multilevel parking structure, build separate ramps for pedestrians and vehicles. Drivers have a harder time controlling vehicles on steep surfaces and keeping people out of these areas will help prevent untoward incidents.
- Put up large notices telling drivers to focus on controlling their vehicles and install signs on the official speed limits within the parking lot or structure.
Without adequate perimeter protection and deterrents, your parking lot can attract criminal activities. According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 400,000 violent crimes occurred in parking lots or garages within four years. They also noted that more than two million crimes involving property victimization happened on these structures during the same period.
Aside from protecting pedestrians and customers, making sure your parking lot is safe from criminal activities also prevents damage to your property.
The best solutions to preventing criminal activity from occurring in your parking lot involve intelligent design choices and strategic security installations. Here are just a few methods you can consider for increasing the safety of your parking lot:
- If your parking lot or structure features hedges or any vegetation, make sure they’re regularly trimmed and maintained. Overgrown shrubs and trees provide plenty of cover for criminals who want to ambush the innocent.
- Install high-powered lights on the perimeter of your parking lot and ensure that the interior is well-lit. Dark and poorly lit areas attract the wrong attention because they provide areas where prying eyes can’t see what’s happening.
- Put up features that prevent unauthorized access and entrance to your parking lot or structure. These features could include metal fences and security booths at entrance points.
- Install security cameras in key areas of your parking lot, such as the entrance and hard-to-see places. Also, put up large signs that tell people your parking lot is monitored by security cameras. These signs are an excellent deterrent for criminal activities, and the cameras themselves are useful in bringing offenders to justice.
Parking lots are some of the most important areas in today’s modern society. People come and go through them all the time to get to their vehicles or to go to their workplaces or favorite shops. If you own a parking lot or similar structure, you owe it to your customers or pedestrians to keep them safe within your property. The best way to protect them is to make sure your parking lot is built by experts who can ensure that it’s structurally sound from the beginning.
Kansas City Concrete Specialists
K & E Flatwork provides expert paving and concrete construction to business owners, homeowners associations, retail store owners, and other commercial establishments. We use the best materials and equipment to build safe and reliable concrete surfaces for our clients.
Contact us today and for more details on our superior services.