Winter weather can complicate your parking lot operations and even endanger the safety of your customers. Today, we’re going to look at some winter parking lot safety issues, and what you can do to prevent and mitigate these problems. At Northbay Maintenance, we offer top-to-bottom parking lot maintenance services to commercial customers like businesses and institutions that operate their own parking lots. This includes our specialized winter parking lot maintenance offerings.
- Tip: We also offer all of the same services you’ll see in this article to residential customers with private driveways and lots!
Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tip #1: Deal with Darkness
Did you know that darkness is actually one of the biggest winter parking lot dangers? With greatly reduced visibility, motorists are more likely to:
- Hit pedestrians and pets.
- Collide with other vehicles.
- Strike barriers, curbs, and light posts.
What You Can Do
Northbay Maintenance’s parking lot maintenance services include a number of preventative steps you can take to protect your parking lot during the dark months. For maximum effectiveness, we recommend you do all of the following during (or near) the month of September before winter weather fully hits:
- Restripe Your Parking Lot: A fresh, bright coat of reflective paint makes an enormous difference in the safety and navigability of a parking lot. This is especially true for motorists with reduced eyesight and vehicles with dim lights. As part of our winter parking lot maintenance offerings, Northbay will restripe your lot—including all parking spaces, intersection stripes, and lane dividers—with high-reflectivity, road-grade paint.
- Upgrade or Replace Your Parking Lot Signage: Road signage is reflective when it comes out of the factory, but fades over time with exposure to sunlight and air pollution. When a sign fades it becomes much harder to see, so motorists don’t notice a sign until they’re right on top of it—or sometimes not at all. Northbay Maintenance can handle all of your signage needs as part of our parking lot maintenance services.
- Optimize Your Parking Lot Lighting: A well-lit parking lot is a safer parking lot. With winter coming, now is a good time for you to evaluate your parking lot lighting situation. Make sure everything is functioning properly, and determine whether you should add more lighting. Today’s high-performance LEDs consume far less power meaning a far lower electricity bill. They are definitely a worthwhile
Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tip #2: Remediate Rainfall
Goodness knows we could use more rain here in California. But when it does rain, it can be disastrous. Our rain comes mostly in the winter and can cause the following winter parking lot problems:
- Reductions in visibility.
- Very slick pavement as months of accumulated oils mix with the rainwater.
- Standing water, either due to dips in the parking lot surface or clogged or overflowing storm drains.
What You Can Do
- Pressure Clean Your Parking Lot: This is one of our many winter parking lot maintenance services. Pressure cleaning your parking lot or garage will brighten the surface of the pavement as well as eliminate caked-on oils and grime that contribute to slick conditions.
- Sweep Your Lot and The Surrounding Street: By clearing your parking lot and the surrounding street of debris, you’ll keep storm drains clear and maximize their ability to remove water from your lot. We recommend doing this once or twice a year around October as the leaves are coming down, and as frequently as necessary thereafter. This is another parking lot maintenance service offering that Northbay is happy to help you with.
- Fill in Any Parking Lot Depressions: Most winter parking lot maintenance is preventative. If you have an uneven parking lot surface that naturally collects puddles, Northbay can help you fill in those areas so that water drains correctly.
Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tip #3: Fight a Freeze
Our warm climate means that we don’t have to deal with severe winter weather; however, most places in the North Bay do tend to get a few freezes a year, particularly:
- Areas with a higher elevation.
- Inland areas with some distance from the ocean.
- Areas with tree coverage that minimizes direct sunshine.
Freezing temperatures can cause a variety of problems, both in terms of safety and in the health of your parking lot surface.
What You Can Do
- Fill in Potholes and Seal Cracks: Freezing temperatures can cause massive pothole growth. As water expands when it freezes, existing cracks and potholes can grow much more quickly. As part of our parking lot maintenance services, Northbay can take care of your potholes and cracks as winter approaches. We recommend doing this in early autumn.
- Resurface Your Parking Lot: If your pavement is badly degraded, filling potholes and sealing cracks won’t be enough. It’s time to replace the entire pavement surface. Don’t worry: Northbay Maintenance has you covered with our efficient, cost-effective resurfacing service, one of our many year-round parking lot maintenance services.
- Keep Your Parking Lot Dry: Good winter parking lot practices include keeping your lot dry. Dry pavement is not slippery, even when frozen! If you can keep your pavement dry before a freeze, you’ve won a major battle. Avoid using hoses or sprinklers before a freeze. Don’t dump any water or other liquids into your lot, and practice good rainwater remediation practices so that any rainwater drains from your lot quickly.
Winter Parking Lot Maintenance Tip #4: What About Rain Followed by Freezing Temperatures?
When this happens, you’re going to get ice. Ice is a business-killer and a huge safety risk. Thankfully, Northbay’s winter parking lot maintenance services include strategies for dealing with ice (and snow).
What You Can Do
- Spread Deicer Over Your Lot: By applying deicing agents such as salt or sand onto your lot right before a freeze, you can prevent freezing from occurring. These deicers may need to be reapplied if the rain continues longer than expected or returns later on. Remember that deicers, even sand and salt, carry a serious environmental impact, so use them sparingly. Additionally, after a freeze, you may consider hiring garage or parking lot cleaning maintenance services to remove any residual salt or sand left over so as to protect your customer’s vehicles from deicer damage.
- Clear Any Snow As Soon As Possible: Removing snow is key to successful winter parking lot maintenance services. Shovel, blow, or plow away snow before it has the chance to melt. Deposit this snow next to drains, or wherever it won’t melt in such a way that it gets your parking lot wet again. This way, when the sun comes out, the bare areas of your parking lot will dry off quickly, and ice won’t be able to form in those places when the clouds return or the sun goes down. Clearing snow also means that motorists will be able to see the parking lot stripes again meaning less “rude” parkers and decreased chance of an accident occurring on your property.
- Use Cones to Close Off Especially Hazardous Areas: Customer volumes will be low during winter storm events, so you won’t need the entire parking lot. Close off any particularly hazardous areas, and focus your efforts on safer parts of the lot.
Trust Northbay Maintenance to Handle Your Winter Parking Lot Needs
We hope these recommendations give you a headstart on tackling winter weather! At Northbay Maintenance, we are committed to being your one-stop cleaning and maintenance contractor for all your needs, both residential and commercial. From window cleaning to janitorial services and event clean-up services (holiday parties, anyone?), Northbay Maintenance is up to the job! We even offer commercial remodeling and renovation services. Contact us today to learn more about our winter parking lot maintenance services, or any of our other services!