Parking lots are the official hangout spots of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles. They may look peaceful, with rows and floors of resting vehicles, but looks can be deceiving. Whether you use them at work, restaurants, hospitals, or other places of business, parking lots pose serious risks for tripping.
On The Surface
Uneven pavement accounts for the majority of trips in parking lots. Sunken or sloped pavement and speed bumps abruptly change the elevation, making it unstable. Many businesses are removing speed bumps, but sunken pavement is not always as obvious of a issue. Uneven surfaces caused by cracks, holes, and lumps in broken pavement can quickly catch the toe of a shoe or cause a misstep. Conditions like these greater than 1 cm need immediate repair. Utility grates and drain covers need to be flush with the pavement and not have openings wider than 1 inch.
Botts dots are non-reflective round or reflective plastic or metal raised pavement markers used in some parking lots to alert drivers to stay within a boundary. However, for pedestrians, these can also pose as a trip hazard.
Icy, oily, or wet surfaces easily cause shoes to lose traction. Other fluids commonly found in parking lots are leaks and spills of engine oil, anti-freeze, and food spills. Decorative tile flooring at stairway and elevator entrances pose a high risk when they become moist or icy. Ironically, safety yellow reflective paint can be very slippery when wet, even with abrasive additives.
This is especially true at the ends of ramps or inclines where Botts dots exist to aid in handicapped areas. Not only can they trip a pedestrian, but the reflective paint used to make them more visible becomes noticeably slippery when wet.
A parking lot layout can enhance or hinder safety. Wheel stops and tire stops are notorious trip hazards more often being replaced by posts and bumper guards. Litter and thoughtlessly-discarded items can also trip someone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 50% of parking lot and sidewalk slips and falls occur in the morning between 6:00 a.m. and noon, because poor lighting impedes visibility.
Falls occur even in the most meticulously maintained parking lots when people fail to observe safety guidelines for using them. Worn soles or improper footwear for the environment can cause slips or trips. High heels, leather soled, and open toe shoes have less traction on wet or icy surfaces than boots or rubber soled shoes.
Pavement Corporation recently completed an extensive parking lot repairs and pavement enhancement project which included parking lot striping, concrete pavement repairs and handicap parking ADA compliance modifications.
The parking lot repairs were completed for Target Corporation in Maryland. The parking lots are located in Westminster, MD., which is located approximately 37 miles north of Baltimore, MD. The parking lots and concrete surfaces were in need of asphalt milling repair, asphalt mill & overlay, crack repair, line striping, concrete crack and joint repairs and ADA handicap parking compliance repairs. The parking lot repairs involved milling to a depth of 4 inches on their existing parking lot to remove high and uneven asphalt spots, creating better parking lot drainage which will enhance the life of the parking lot and reduce trip and safety hazards in the parking lot.
This parking lot repair project in northern Maryland involved an overlay on the parking lot including handicap parking, handicap access points and customer crosswalks that included over 19,000 square yards of paving.