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5 Rules for Backing Up Safely

Dear Driver: In most fleets, 25%, or one in four collisions is a backing collision. The percentage runs even higher for certain fleets, including delivery and service operations. The reason for the high collision frequency is obvious. The most obvious being limited visibility. In every case, a backing collision ruins a driver’s safety record because backing collisions are Preventable. The best rule of thumb is to avoid backing. Look at your route and eliminate as much backing as possible. However, if you find it necessary to back, follow these five rules:

1. Get out and get the whole picture – walk around your vehicle to examine the area into which you must back and then start backing immediately. Be sure to check clearances behind, above, below and to the sides of your vehicle. Sound your horn before backing.

2. Back from the driver’s side – backing from the driver’s left reduces the blind zone. The illustrations below identify the blinds zones. It may be necessary to drive around the block to position the vehicle.

3. Back slowly – allows you to maintain control of your vehicle.

4. Check both sides as you back – don’t depend entirely on mirrors because objects may be closer than they appear. Don’t depend entirely on rear view cameras and or sensors (if equipped). Get out and look ¾ through the backing maneuver, pace the distance between the vehicle and the desired stopping point, mark a guide/spot on the ground an equal distance from the driver’s seat, then continue backing. When you reach the mark, stop backing.

5. Use a reliable guide - instruct the guide to watch the area you will be moving into and keep an eye on your blind zone. A guide should stand on the driver’s side so they can see both you and the rear of your vehicle. Make sure you agree on hand signals to be used before you begin to back. STOP if you lose sight of your guide.

Additional rules to remember are: • Never to back around a corner or into traffic –Drive around the block to avoid this dangerous maneuver. • Don’t back out of driveways or alleys – A defensive driver will drive into the alley, turn around and drive out head first. If not possible to turn around, the skilled driver will back into the alley to eliminate the need to back out. • Adjust your mirrors properly. • Keep mirrors, sensors and cameras clean. Check and Look - Prevent Backing Collisions!

CLICK HERE to download the optional Safety Talk form for your workplace.