3 keys to parking lot safety
Despite our familiarity with parking lots, they hide numerous dangers. Whether backing out of a stall or walking to your vehicle at night, here are some simple safety strategies to protect you and your vehicle:
1. Pedestrian safety
According to the National Safety Council Journal of Safety Research, 2,057 work-related deaths occurred in company parking lots between 1993 and 2003. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 52 percent of all back-over injuries and 17 percent of all fatal back-overs happen in parking lots.
• Don’t assume drivers can see you.
• Use crosswalks and sidewalks when possible.
• Be alert for danger signs: engines starting, back-up lights.
• Avoid cutting between vehicles where pedestrians are especially hard to see.
• Hang onto young children.
2. Driving safety
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety records show that 14 percent of all collisions that cause vehicle damage happen in parking lots.
• Drive slowly.
• Don’t cut across aisles.
• Watch out for drivers who are speeding or rushing to pull into a parking space.
• Stay away from cars parked at odd angles.
• Avoid parking at the end of an aisle, unless it’s protected by an island.
• Park so you can pull forward to exit.
• During the daytime, park farther away from the building to avoid traffic.
3. Personal safety
The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that annually 2 percent of all violent crimes and 2.3 percent of all property crimes occur in commercial parking lots.
• At night, park close to the building in well-lit, visible areas.
• Avoid rear or side entrances after dark.
• Walk confidently, look around, and keep hands out of your pockets.
• Don’t use headphones or earbuds when walking at night.
• Walk to your car with coworkers when possible.
• Have keys ready so you can quickly enter your car and lock it again.
• If you have any valuables in your car, hide them out of sight.