Preventing Parking Lot Traffic Accidents

Parking lots are busy places, used by employees, customers, and delivery drivers.
Image of a commercial parking lot with properly marked spots, and pedestrian walkways,

According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), parking lot collisions make up as much as 20% of all accidents. Below are some tips and steps businesses can take to limit accidents in their parking lots:


1. Physically Control Traffic Flow

This can be done by designating separate entrances and exits to your parking lot, installing speed bumps or tables, and making sure parking spaces have visible lines. This helps control traffic flow and reduce the risk of accidents as vehicles are more controlled within your parking lot.


2. Protect Your Building

Ensure your building doesn’t become a casualty of a traffic incident by installing bollards. Bollards are short, sturdy posts that can be used to protect buildings from being hit by cars and can be fixed or removable. Bollards are preferred over cement posts or pots as cement can explode and can create shrapnel when impacted by vehicles. Installing bollards helps to prevent vehicle damage to storefronts, drive-thru windows, and other high traffic areas near a building, while also limiting debris that could fly around after an impact.

Image of metal bollards built into a sidewalk of a business parking lot, to protect the sidewalk and building.

3. Pedestrian Walkways

Create designated pedestrian walkways to separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic. Make sure walkways are properly marked so drivers are more cautious near pedestrian areas. Markings can include raised walking islands, bollards, and pedestrian crossing signs.


4. Install Signage

Use clear and visible signage to indicate traffic flow, parking directions, speed limits and pedestrian walkways. Keep the signage clear and concise so a driver can read it quickly, then refocus back on the parking lot. A well-designed combination of lines and signs makes it easier for your visitors to follow the safest route through your lot.


5. Improve Visibility

Visibility in a parking lot is critical to limit parking lot accidents. As a business owner, there are several pieces you can control to help with visibility, including:

    • Maintain Landscaping: Keep bushes trimmed and eliminate blind spots that create visibility issues and blind corners.
    • Mirrors: Install convex traffic mirrors (parabolic mirrors) around blind corners of buildings or other obstacles so pedestrians and drivers can see around corners before entering.
    • Lighting: A well-lit parking lot helps prevent accidents by making it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and other vehicles. Make sure bulbs are replaced, when needed, and don’t forget about lighting near parking lot entrances and exits.


6. Train Employees

Establish a training program to go over parking lot safety procedures as part of your employee onboardings and revisit best practices annually. All employees should be aware of parking lot safety features and feel accountable for keeping everyone on the premises safe. Encourage employees to park at the back of the lot, leaving close spots easily accessible for visitors, which both improves customer experience and reduces the need for visitors to cross traffic flow to get to the building.

There are also best practices for employees and delivery drivers on how to park in a lot to minimize accidents. Those best practices are:

Pull-Through Parking

The best option whenever possible is pull-through parking, because it allows the vehicle to both enter and exit the parking space without ever having to reverse. The driver can locate two empty parking spaces facing each other and drive through the first space to park in the second space. Once parked, the vehicle will be facing forward out of the space.

While pull-through parking may not always be an option if there aren’t enough parking spaces available, it is the best option if available.

Back Into Spaces

Another option is to instruct delivery drivers and employees to back into parking spaces. It’s just harder to see hazards when backing out of a parking spot. By backing into a space, a driver will be able to see pedestrians and cross traffic better. In addition, the cars parked beside you are no longer directly in your blind spots. It takes about the same amount of time to back into or back out of a parking spot – it’s time neutral – but so much safer!


7. Regular Inspections & Audits

Establish a parking lot inspection schedule with your team and have employees inspect the parking lot regularly for any potential hazards, such as loose gravel or uneven pavement. Make sure these inspections are documented and occur at regular intervals. Inspections should include identifying areas where repair is needed.

By following these tips, businesses can help to create a safe and secure parking environment for their employees, customers, and visitors.


What’s Next?

See our tips on how to prevent exterior slips, trips, and falls at your business.

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