Officers in Springfield recently worked a fatality motor vehicle accident in which a backing truck struck a pedestrian (tip is originally from August 2004). The following driving tips are from Michael L. Funk, Director of Transportation Services at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, and were published in the April 2004 issue of “Traffic Safety,” a publication of the National Safety Council. This is good information for all drivers to follow and could save lives in our city.
Hitting an object while backing is a primary cause of property damage accidents. When the object is a coworker, customer, child, or any other person, a bad situation can become disastrous. The following techniques will minimize the potential for backing accidents, and with practice will become habits and greatly reduce your chance of having a serious incident.
1. Plan ahead and avoid backing whenever possible. When practical, park vehicles so you will not have to back them at a later time. If backing will be necessary and is practical, back the vehicle before leaving it.
2. Make sure the path the vehicle will take while backing is clear of obstacles. When approaching a vehicle that will have to be backed, check the rear of the vehicle and anticipate where another vehicle or pedestrian could reach the rear of the vehicle while it is backing.
3. Keep your windows clean. Never back a vehicle when the rear windows or any mirrors are covered with frost, snow, or any other substances that keep you from visually clearing the path the vehicle will take while backing.
4. Check the path repeatedly. Once behind the wheel, with the engine running and the vehicle in reverse, check the area again by turning and visually clearing the path that the vehicle will take. In a larger vehicle, use both side mirrors to check and visually clear the rear.
5. Honk the horn once or twice to warn other drivers and pedestrians that you are going to back up.
6. Check the mirrors or turn around while backing.