All of us know that in the course of our daily driving experience, be it in a commercial motor vehicle or your own vehicle, we find it necessary to put the transmission in reverse at some point. But did you know that backing accidents are the leading cause of property damage accidents? Well these tips are going to teach you how to prevent accidents while driving a commercial motor vehicle. How many times has a driver tried to explain how the ‘other guy’ pulled behind them and never saw them? What about the dreaded “ghost” stationary object that appeared out of nowhere, causing a crumpled front bumper? Safety Managers and Insurance Adjusters have yet to see a backing accident or hitting a stationary object as “Non-Preventable”. In fact, most liability insurance carriers will accept and mitigate any filed property damage claim resulting from these types of incidents to prevent any chance of small claim litigation suits.
With all this said, this week’s Safety Tip Sunday is about preventing accidents when backing so let’s review techniques to reduce the chance of having a backing accident and/or striking a stationary object:
1. FIRST OF ALL, PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID BACKING WHENEVER POSSIBLE
This goes without saying. To prevent accidents while backing, the best practice is to not have to. If possible, find a spot to park where backing out won’t have to occur.
2. BE AWARE OF ALL OBSTACLES WHICH MAY CAUSE BACKING ACCIDENTS
Take time to walk around the unit to make sure the path is free of all obstacles. Check the rear of the vehicle and anticipate where other drivers or pedestrians could enter your path. Never back a vehicle when rear windows or mirrors are covered with frost, snow, or other substances that keep the driver from visually monitoring the path of the vehicle. Once the path is checked, the driver behind the wheel with the engine started and put in reverse, double check the area again by continually looking in your mirrors to “visually clear” the path.
3. ANNOUNCE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE BACKING UP
Honk the horn once or twice to warn everyone that you are going to backup. Utilize the backup warning devices that are installed when you put the transmission into reverse.
4. USE THE ASSISTANCE YOU HAVE TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS
Use the safety cones to create a clear path for the vehicle while backing up. These cones are great reference points for the driver to judge distances. Every LGT truck is supplied with them and if you don’t have any, contact your dispatcher or safety department to let them know. Also if it’s available, don’t be afraid to ask for spotter assistance. A spotter is a great tool to utilize.
5. KEEP YOUR EYES MOVING
When entering a business to make a delivery, keep your eyes moving to identify all hazards which may affect the vehicle. When safe to do so, park and get out of the unit to walk around to create a safe path to move forward. If the situation calls for tight maneuvering, again use safety cones to identify blind hazards and use as reference points. Always keep your eyes moving to visually clear your path for pedestrians and other vehicles.
We all hear about the horror stories of drivers having accidents, and then running into more issues afterwards with Insurance Adjusters. These pointers are to help our drivers and others prevent accidents while backing, or just when they need a quick stop on the road. To sum up, the main points to consider preventing backing accidents and striking stationary objects are:
- Plan your trip ahead of time to avoid backing situations
- Always be aware of all obstacles, whether stationary or not
- Use the assistance that’s available to you
- Always keep your eyes moving to watch out for any potential obstacles
Missed last week’s Safety Tip Sunday? Check it out here.
Want to stay up-to-date with LGT? Make sure to follow us on our social media!