Backing Safety

March 1, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Backing Safety

Backing any vehicle is no easy task. The National Safety Council says one out of four vehicle accidents can be attributed to poor backing techniques. Research also shows that carelessness causes most backing accidents.
The challenges for safe backing are even greater for truck drivers. The larger the truck, the larger the invisible area behind it, even with rearview mirrors properly adjusted. Mirrors can never give the whole picture while backing. What’s more, mirrors distort heights, widths and distances.
Backing is challenging and hazardous because a truck driver will see stationary objects in his mirrors prior to backing, but as the truck is maneuvered in reverse, objects may suddenly disappear or enter the driver’s “blind spots” — those areas that rearview mirrors don’t show.
Complicating safe backing are moving objects. No matter how careful a driver may be in checking behind his vehicle before backing, a moving object — such as a person or another vehicle may — also disappear from view or enter the truck’s blind spots without being noticed.
Here are some procedures your drivers can take to greatly reduce the likelihood of having a backing accident:
Concentrate
The fewer the distractions, the better you can focus on maneuvering your truck backward.
Walkaround
Get out of the truck and walk around it before backing, visually checking the area for clearances, low obstructions like wires and tree branches, hazards and hidden obstacles. Be aware of the surroundings.
Spotter
When the situation warrants it, ask someone to help- guide you while backing, especially when backing on the blind side. Agree on the hand signals to be used prior to backing. Keep the spotter in view to avoid backing into him. For the safety of the spotter, do not have him walk backward while signaling directions.
Responsibility. Even with someone assisting, if you can’t clearly see what’s next to or behind your truck, stop, get out and check the area. Then quickly return to your vehicle and begin backing. This is to allow as little time as possible for moving objects to change behind your vehicle. Be advised: The driver has the final responsibility for safe backing.
Visibility
Keep mirrors clean for good visibility. Check your mirrors and turn your body around to check the area behind your truck to make sure you have a clear, unobstructed view before backing. Use both side mirrors when backing, glancing from one side to the other. Depending upon the backing situation, it might be advisable to roll down your window and look back out of it while maneuvering. Do not open your door and lean out of it. You will not be able to see nearly as much doing this, plus it makes it impossible to use the right-side mirror.
Caution
Always back slowly so you can stop immediately if necessary. Backing slowly will minimize damage should a backing collision occur. Avoid backing into traffic and around corners.
Horn
It is a good idea to tap the horn a couple of time before backing. This alerts others that your truck is beginning to move.
Remind your drivers that every backing situation is new and different. Just because a driver may deliver to the same location several times a week, he cannot become complacent in his backing there. Obstacles, hazards and clearances may have changed.
Backing is a skill which can be developed with practice. You might want to have your drivers practice backing in safe surroundings. Doing it over and over again will make a driver better at it. And that will make their job easier and safer. BI
David Kolman is a veteran truck communicator, keynote speaker and long—haul trucker. Commissioned as an Honorary Colonel on the Kentucky governor’s staff for his work promoting traffic safety, he actively participates in trade associations and reports news and information about the trucking industry for broadcasting and print media.
Preventable backing accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) considers these types of backing accidents preventable:
— Driver backed up when backing could have been avoided by better route planning.
— Driver backed into traffic stream when such backing could have been avoided.
— Driver failed to get out of cab and check proposed path of backward travel.
— Driver depended solely on mirrors when it was practicable to look back.
— Driver failed to get out of cab periodically and recheck conditions when backing a long distance.
— Driver relied solely on a guide to help him back.
— Driver backed from blind side when he could have made a sight-side approach.

 Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Beverage Industry.  

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Dinner with Tequila Don Julio

Diageo is taking its Tequila Don Julio brand on the road this summer with a rolling Airstream Speakeasy mobile craft cocktail bar. The team stopped in Chicago on July 29 to share some specialty tequila cocktails paired with food from Chicago restaurants Honey Butter Fried Chicken and The Radler as well as dessert venues Black Dog Gelato and Baker Miller. (Photos by Jennifer Haderspeck)

9/17/14 2:00 pm EDT

The Path to New Product Success: Navigating the latest trends for new beverage development

By attending this webinar, you will learn about the top trends and how they fit into the CPG market, which channels are influencing new products and technology, how Packaging fits into your product development, and ways you can use innovation to increase sales.

Podcasts

Maintaining beverage dispensing equipment

Iuliana Nita, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics global marketing manager of food and beverage, offers her insights about ensuring sanitary performance of beverage dispensing equipment in foodservice applications. She also will offer some tips about choosing the right kind of tubing to handle acidic beverages.

Beverage Industry Magazine

BI September 2014 cover

2014 September

The September 2014 Beverage Industry includes a cover story on our Wholesaler of the Year, The Odom Corp., as well as articles about single-cup and iced coffees, cconvenience store growth, vegetable flavors, and more. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Beverage Insider eNewsletter

Are you an Insider? Subscribe to Beverage Industry’s weekly e-newsletter to receive news headlines, new product information and magazine highlights.   

Coffee Segments

Which coffee segment will be impacted the most by coffee bean increases?
View Results Poll Archive

THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY STORE

cleaning-in-place-dairy-foo.gif
Cleaning-in-Place: Dairy, Food and Beverage Operations, 3rd Edition

This book addresses the principles of cleaning operations, water supply issues and the science of detergents and disinfectants.

More Products

Webinars

Beverage Industry Webinars are an easy, effective and convenient way to get educated and informed on the latest industry trends and topics. All Webinars are FREE unless indicated. For more information, check out our Events page!

STAY CONNECTED

facebook40 twitter    youtubelinkedgoogle+ icon 40px