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Backing up a vehicle, whether it is a heavy dump truck or a small automobile, can be a difficult task with a lot of dangers involved. In fact, many accidents occur when vehicles are backing up at only 5 mph, due to blind spots, poor planning and lack of skill.
Tips for Safety while Backing Up Vehicles
When you can avoid backing up, do so. Otherwise, follow these safety tips:
- Back up slowly and never hurry through the process. Keep the vehicle in control at all times.
- If you have doubts about what is behind you or if space is too tight, do not back up.
- Make use of your rearview mirrors and rear window (if there is one) before and during the process; don’t open your door to look behind you.
- Dump trucks and heavy equipment such as bulldozers and graders have blind spots in which the operator has no view. In these cases the back-up route should be planned ahead of time.
- Back up only as far as needed and then proceed forward to move the vehicle the rest of the way.
- Back in and then drive out going forward when parking in a lot.
- Place a cone behind your vehicle when parking if you will need to back out later. This will allow you to maintain clearance if a vehicle parks behind you.
- If you are in a blind spot, beep your horn twice or sound your backup alarm before backing.
- Watch out for overhead power lines or any other obstructions that you may come in contact with.
- Do not back around corners or exit ramps on the freeway.
- Walk around the entire vehicle looking for hazards and remove them if necessary.
Strongly consider using a spotter when backing your vehicle. When using a spotter, follow these general rules:
- Maintain contact with your spotter at all times. If you cannot hear and see him/her, do not back up until you can.
- Agree on hand signals that the spotter will use to signal you to back up and stop.
- Ask the spotter to walk around the vehicle and survey the backing area to check for hazards. Have him or her check your overhead clearance as well.
- Make sure the spotter is at least 8 feet away from the vehicle before you begin to back up.
- Some construction sites require flaggers. Stay aware of and work closely with these key members of your team when backing up.
Looking for more information, guides, and references? Contact The Safegard Group today for additional resources.