Every truck driver will have to back up at some point during the day, whether backing into a dock or parking the truck. Truck drivers need to be extra cautious when backing up their long trailer. Many truck backing accidents are usually caused by the trucker not spending the time necessary to complete the backing maneuver successfully. Here are 7 common tips to ensure safe backing up!
- Make Yourself Visible: Try to make yourself as visible as possible. Use your hazards when backing, even a friendly tap of the horn will help get people's attention so they see you.
- Blind Spots: Blind spots can extend up to 16 feet in front and 160 feet behind a vehicle. Drivers need to remember that mirrors can never give the whole picture while backing. And don't just focus on 1 mirror, scan the entire area and don't forget the front and sides of the vehicle.
- Think Ahead!: Drivers should not put themselves into harmful, unnecessary backing situations. Also, drivers should choose easy-exit parking spaces so they can drive straight out when they are ready to get back on the road.
- Do A Walk-Around: Walking around a vehicle gives the driver firsthand view of the backing area and any limitations. They can check for pedestrians, muddy areas, potholes, tire hazards, and other dangers.
- Every Situation is Different: Drivers can visit the same location several times but each time they back up it could be different, so they need to take the same precautionary measures each time.
- Use a Friend: A driver should also use another person to help them when backing. The driver and spotter should use hand signals instead of verbal so that the message is clear and won't be misunderstood by not hearing the other person correctly. But remember, it is your responisbility as the driver to back safely, not your spotters. They are just there to help.
- No Friend Around?: If a driver has to spot for themselves, it is important for them to start backing up within a few seconds of getting back in the truck. This allows little time for people or obstacles to get in the way, but don't get in a hurry - always back slowly (less than 1mph)
A great deal of practice is the best solution to learn how to successfully accomplish this move safely, each and every time. Drivers just need to remember that it will take time and practice, but before you know it you'll be the one that rookie drivers go to for advice. And always remember: If you don't know (what is behind you), don't go!
Get Out And Look (G.O.A.L.), when needed.