For businesses operating fleets of vehicles, backing collisions often account for a large percentage of their losses. Since it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the path behind the vehicle is clear, this type of loss is usually also considered preventable.
There are several compelling reasons to avoid backing accidents. They often result in costly property damage claims. They also have the potential to cause serious injuries when pedestrians are involved. Often the driver’s safety record is tarnished. In addition, for businesses, backing collisions can result in out-of-pocket expenses, higher insurance costs and business disruption while vehicles are repaired.
There are several ways to help reduce the risk of being involved in backing collisions. The best way is to avoid backing whenever possible. For example, park in a way that allows you to move forward instead of backing up when you leave. Never back up on a roadway if you have missed your turn. Instead, continue until you can find a safe place to turn around and make the turn safely.
Of course, backing up is an unavoidable daily requirement for many professional drivers. If you must back up, do it carefully by following some basic precautions:
- Keep your mirrors clean and adjusted to maximize the view behind your vehicle.
- Get out and walk around the vehicle. Make a mental note of anything that could create a hazard, such as fixed objects, parked vehicles, overhead obstacles or pedestrians. Once you have completed your walk-around, begin backing immediately before the situation changes.
- Look and listen by opening your window and turning off radios and cell phones.
- If you must turn while backing, back up so you can see the driver’s side of the vehicle in your side-view mirror. This can help increase your view of the area and reduce guesswork.
- Use your four-way flashers to alert other motorists and pedestrians that you are backing up.
- Back up slowly so you can stop quickly if an obstacle suddenly appears.
- Ask a spotter to help you back up in places where traffic, pedestrians or obstacles create challenges.