Vehicle backing accidents happen too often but are completely preventable. Vehicle or equipment backing accidents can lead to costly damage, serious personal injury or fatality.
STEPS TO AVOID BACKING ACCIDENTS
- Make sure your path is clear and that any person in the area is aware of your intention to back up before moving your vehicle or equipment.
- Don’t assume everyone can hear the back-up alarm and will move clear of your path when you are backing up.
- Park defensively. Choose parking places that allow you to exit easily, like pull-through spaces.
- Position the vehicle or equipment to exit the parking area in a forward direction. Doing so gives the driver a full forward view of approaching pedestrian or vehicle traffic that they might not otherwise see when backing.
- Know your vehicle’s blind spots. Mirrors provide limited visibility. A medium-sized truck can have blind spots that extend up to 16 feet in front and 160 feet behind the vehicle.
- Physically turn your body and look around at your travel path and the surrounding area when backing.
- Do a quick walk-around before getting into the vehicle or equipment. Inspect the area behind the vehicle or equipment looking for obstructions or space limitations.
- Know the clearances around the equipment or vehicle. Check for obstructions, low-hanging wires, utility poles or other possible obstacles.
- Use a spotter when backing to the vehicle’s blind side, which is the right side. The right side of a vehicle typically has larger blind spots.
- Drivers sometimes must spot for themselves. You need to return to the vehicle and start backing within a few seconds after finishing the walk-around. This will allow very little time for people, cars or other obstacles to change the back-up conditions. Backing without a spotter should only take place after the driver has learned as much as possible about the area they are backing into.
- As a pedestrian in a work zone, always assume the driver or operator does not see you. Make eye contact before proceeding around a vehicle or piece of equipment.