Backing Presentation

Backing Collisions
A Ten-Minute Training
Topics Presentation
• “One out of every four accidents can be blamed
on poor backing techniques”
- National Safety Council
…If only trucks would bend…
• The cost of “Property Damage Crash” (a typical
backing up accident) is presently estimated at an
average of $7,400 per event
– National Safety Council
• While we drive thousands of miles going
forward, have you ever stopped to consider that
most drivers cover less than a mile or two per
year in reverse?
• Backing up isn’t easy:
– the driver’s seat faces forward making it tough to
turn to look and see behind the vehicle;
– many cargo carrying vehicles create giant blind areas
where you can’t see; and
– mirrors (and even TV camera systems) while helpful,
can distort views and don’t cover every area unless
positioned properly.
• Unfortunately, backing accidents continue to
happen and they are frustrating for everyone
• These collisions are avoidable/preventable and
while most only involve simple property damage,
some lead to very serious injuries or even tragic
• Although there are new “aids” or “tools” such as
camera systems and sonar systems, the only
certain way for any driver to know that they
have enough room to maneuver is to get out and
• Only by looking at exact clearances on either side
(and behind!) the vehicle can a driver spot what
maneuvers will be needed to safely back into a
parking or loading area.
What leads to backing collisions?
• Although it may sound silly, the number one
cause of backing accidents is backing up.
• What we're really trying to say is
that backing maneuvers should
be eliminated or minimized at
each stop or terminal.
What leads to backing collisions?
• Other conditions or situations that may
contribute to backing accidents include:
– Moving backwards without first looking to be sure
that the area behind the vehicle is clear – no one can
assume that it’s safe to back up
– Lack of, or inadequately designed, mirrors (size,
shape, configuration)
– Improperly positioned mirrors (mounting locations)
What leads to backing collisions?
• Other conditions or situations that may
contribute to backing accidents include:
– Improperly adjusted mirrors (line of sight, minimize
blind spots)
– Blind spots which can not be easily corrected with
mirrors (the area located immediately behind large
– View blocks (signs, shrubs)
– Turning while backing (body of vehicle or trailer
obscures target area)
What leads to backing collisions?
• Other conditions or situations that may
contribute to backing accidents include:
– Distractions caused by bystanders, traffic, improper
signaling of helper, etc.
– Low visibility conditions (weather, night, enclosed
docks, dimly lit garages)
– Hard to see physical barriers behind the vehicle
(posts, cargo, pallets, etc.)
– Physical barriers which move behind the vehicle prior
to, or during, the backing maneuver
Tips to Help?
• While it’s not usually feasible to change the
loading/unloading arrangements at most stops,
it never hurts to consider alternatives in case a
change for the better (safer) is possible.
• The goal is to minimize backing, OR to facilitate a
safe backing movement.
Tips to Help?
• You’ve probably heard many of these tips, but they are
worth repeating, since it is possible to “slip into a
comfort zone”.
• Here are some tips to consider:
– If your vehicle has a rear window (sedan, SUV, pickup, van,
etc.) use defoggers (if available) to melt snow, ice and keep
the window clear.
– Take time to walk around your vehicle and look for people,
vehicles, or other objects that may obstruct your startup/back-up path.
– Don’t forget to look overhead to ensure a safe clearance.
Tips to Help?
• Here are some tips to consider:
– Minimize distractions (turn off music or talk radio so
that you can hear what’s happening around your
– After the walk-around check, have no delay in
moving vehicle. Don’t enable another hazard to
approach your vehicle while you are getting ready to
– Avoid “blind side” backing (backing and turning
simultaneously where the vehicle blocks the driver’s
Tips to Help?
• Here are some tips to consider:
– Check your mirrors – are they both clean and
adjusted to minimize any “blind areas”?
– Start up slowly at first to allow other vehicles and
pedestrians, who may have unexpectedly
approached, to safely move away.
– Tap horn in congested areas or recruit a signalman (if
permitted by your company’s policies, and practice
hand signals to avoid confusion).
Tips to Help?
• Here are some tips to consider:
– Turn off personal radios and lower window during
back up moves to hear any verbal alerts/warnings.
– Stop before loading dock contact - get out and check
the final distance to dock. (Serious injuries can occur
when bystanders are pinched between vehicles and
– Make back-up moves slowly in order to stop quickly.
Before Leaving on a Trip:
– Check for proper mirror adjustment.
– Promptly report broken mirrors and loose
– Check for proper tail light, brake light, and turn signal
– Check for proper function of horn and back-up
warning signal (if so equipped).
– Check for proper function of (and take time to
practice using) CCTV, sonar or radar back-up sensors
(if so equipped).
• The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
offers these comments on the preventability of
backing accidents…
• “A collision that occurs while backing up is
“preventable” if the driver:
– backed up when backing could have been avoided by
better planning of his/her route
– backed into traffic stream when such backing could
have been avoided
– failed to get out of cab and check proposed path of
backward travel
• “A collision that occurs while backing up is
“preventable” if the driver:
– depended solely on mirrors when it was practicable
to look back
– failed to get out of cab periodically and recheck
conditions when backing a long distance
– failed to check behind vehicle parked at curb before
attempting to leave parking space
– relied solely on a guide to help him/her back
– backed from blind side when he/she could have
made a sight-side approach
• Most backing collisions are avoidable and
• It takes a commitment to be vigilant and
consistent in your driving duties to avoid these
• Thankfully, most backing collisions don’t involve
injuries, but they can – do your very best each
day to drive in a disciplined manner.
This presentation was developed for the benefit of clients of SafetyFirst Systems.
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