Slip And Fall Accidents In Parking Lots: Parking Lot Paint Does Not Have To Be Slippery In Wet Weather
Virtually all parking lots contain areas where the walking surface is painted. Common examples include parking stall line stripes, "No Parking" areas, handicapped parking symbols and pedestrian crosswalks. The companies that own, maintain and paint these parking lots know full well that their customers will be walking on the painted surfaces. Very often, these painted surfaces present an avoidable, unnecessary slipping hazard.
Many, if not most, highway and parking lot paints are slippery when they become wet from rain, melted snow, etc. Many of the manufacturers of these paints actually warn their customers that the paints become slippery when wet. An example of such warnings, advisories is as follows:
CAUTION: Sealed surfaces may become slippery when wet. Use caution when walking on surface when moisture is present.
The reasons that the painted surfaces become slippery when wet are very simple. Most concrete and asphalt parking lots have a naturally rough, textured surface. This allows for a solid, safe interface between the walking surface and the individual's shoes even when the surface is wet. Very often, when parking lots are sealcoated, sand or other non-skid materials is added to the sealcoat material to maintain a good slip resistant walking/driving surface. When paints are applied on top of these safe walking surfaces, the paint can fill the voids and level off the rough texture that provides the safe walking surface. When water is placed on top of the smooth paint layer, this creates a walking surface that is a formula for hydroplaning -- the pedestrian's shoe literally slides on a layer of water atop a smooth lawyer of paint rather than making secure contact with the textured walking surface.
This condition of paint forming a slippery coating on top of the parking lot surface is often exacerbated by multiple coats of paint being applied at once or through multiple applications over time. The condition can also be worsened by the paint contractor simply applying an excessive amount of paint, in a single coat.
This common hazard can be very easily avoided. Silica sand or other gritty material can be added to the paint, to create a safe, textured walking surface in the painted areas. When done properly, this simple step eliminates or greatly reduces the safety hazard from the painted areas by providing enough texture to allow a safe interface between the walking surface and the pedestrian's shoe.
The materials needed to make the painted areas safe are extremely inexpensive. It literally costs pennies to purchase enough sand or other material to make all the painted areas in a large parking lot safe for pedestrians. Why then do contractors and business owners not do this routinely? It is difficult to apply aggregate containing paint through a spray paint machine. The paint often needs to be rolled or brushed. This increases the amount of time it takes to paint the parking lot. This results in two undesirable results for the business owner: (1) increased labor costs; and (2) increased inconvenience for the businesses' customers and/or a longer interruption in the normal traffic flow in the parking lot which can affect sales. Bottom line, it comes down to money.
Slip and fall accidents on painted surfaces within parking lots are very often avoidable. There is no good reason why painted surfaces within parking lots need to be slippery in wet weather.
If you've been injured in a parking lot and slipped on parking lot paint, contact the White and Williams team, experienced premises liability and trip and fall lawyers, for a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.