Parking lots can be a tricky place anytime of the year, but particularly so in the winter. It’s human nature to relax when you’ve finally pulled off the road and are enroute to your final destination, be it work, the grocery store or home.
Unfortunately, that feeling of safety is an illusion. According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association, 20% of insurance claims are related to parking lot accidents.
Why? Two reasons: distraction and limited visibility.
People are often distracted when they first get into a vehicle - If you are going somewhere you’ve never been or always have trouble finding the place then you might need to set a GPS; if you have kids, you need to get them corralled and situated; and most important of all, you need to get your tunes figured out.
Whatever the reason, people aren’t always the most alert when they operate in a parking lot. The issue is only exacerbated with limited visibility. Snow, rain, wind, and fog all make for a more difficult parking experience. On top of that, you’re already wedged tight into a parking spot with cars on either side of you making it harder to see approaching persons or vehicles. Which is why we here at Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors think it is important to practice parking lot safety.
Winter Parking Lot Safety Tips
- When walking in a parking lot do not walk in the center of an aisle, stick to the sides and be on the lookout for approaching vehicles.
- If vehicles are present be sure to make eye contact with the driver; if you don’t think the driver has seen you stop and wait for them to pass safely.
- Wear non-slip shoes or boots when walking on snow or ice.
- Use your eyes: You can’t hear every approaching vehicle, so make sure that you are paying attention to your surroundings.
- Don’t take shortcuts, stick to the plowed sections and avoid snowdrifts.
- Be on the lookout for snow-blowers or plow drivers.
- Don’t use your phone (or tablet) when walking in a parking lot – you should have your wits about you at all times.
- When getting into your vehicle, take care of any of those little distraction before hitting the road (bucking up, adjusting mirrors, etc).
- Obey parking lot speed limits and stay in your lane.
Source – Workplace Safety News, February 13, 2014: 9 tips for winter parking lot safety
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