Backing incidents can account for up to half of all reportable fleet incidents.  

Virtually all backing collisions are preventable, though.  We drive in reverse only a fraction of the distance that we go in the forward direction yet it seems that backing in a serious problem in most fleets.
Q: Why do you think there are so any backing incidents?

Answers may be:
• Drivers are unskilled at backing.
• Visibility is poor and it’s therefore easier to miss seeing a hazard.
• Drivers in a hurry and fail to take the time to ensure no hazards.
• Driver was backing in a situation where it could have been avoided.
• Driver was going too fast to properly control vehicle.
• Drivers fail to walk around the vehicle to check for hazards.
• Other reasons?

Backing incidents at best are expensive but at worst can end up as fatalities. Not only on the job, but also at home. Across North America every year, more than 250 children are killed in the driveways of their own homes in back-over incidents where a parent, relative or friend backs up while the child is behind the vehicle and can’t be seen. Even if you don’t have small children of your own, are there any kids in your neighborhood?
Q: How many of us have jumped into the car or truck and just backed out of the driveway without looking behind first?

How many have run over a bicycle or child’s toy in the driveway?

9 tips to avoid backing incidents:

  1. Avoid Backing
  2. Find a spot to pull through to park.
  3. Back in when you have to stall park to allow your first move to be forward.
  4. Circle Check -- If your vehicle has been parked for a while, walk around before moving it to make sure that there are no hazards that you are unaware of.
  5. Look Back -- Either look out the center of the rear window by turning in your seat or adjust and use your mirrors effectively.
  6. Back Slowly -- Keep your speed to a walking pace maximum to ensure that you can control the vehicle and react to problems if they arise.
  7. Use a Guide --If there is a reliable person who can help guide you back, use them!  Agree on signals before starting back and keep them in sight.  Stop if you lose sight of your guide.
  8. Avoid Distractions -- As with any driving, avoid use of mobile devices, radios or other electronics when backing.
  9. Practice -- We back-up infrequently and many of us don’t have a high level of confidence.  If you are unsure of your ability, take some time and practice.  Set up some cones to back around or just find a quiet parking lot and practice backing into the empty stalls.

Practical challenge:

For the next week:
Walk around your vehicle before moving it from a parked position. Limit your backing using good pre-planning and back into parking spots when necessary.