Safety in reverse: 5 ways to avoid back-up accidents
One of the most dangerous things drivers do every day is backing up. Reportedly, one in four vehicle accidents occur when drivers are going in reverse. Most of these accidents involve vehicle damage, but bodily injury occurs as well. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency calculates an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries are caused by back-up accidents every year.
Take these steps to prevent accidents when backing up:
Know your blind spots. In pickup trucks and SUVs, blind spots can extend up to 50 feet behind a vehicle. Remember that mirrors don’t give you the full picture.
Choose easy-exit parking spots. Find a pull-through parking spot when available or consider backing in to park.
Walk around. Check behind your vehicle for children, pets, or other objects before you get in.
Use a spotter. When backing into a difficult spot, use a spotter to help you navigate.
Increase visibility. Trim bushes or trees near the driveway so you can see any pedestrians that might cross the sidewalk.
Back-up accidents and children
The child advocacy group Kids and Cars says at least 50 children are backed over every week in the U.S., and some of those accidents are fatal. Drivers need to be attentive and look for kids before backing up.
If children are playing outside, have them stand where you can see them before driving in reverse. Teach kids to look for cars before crossing anyone’s driveway, and remind them never to play in, around, or behind a car. Keep toys out of the driveway so kids aren’t tempted to play there.
In May 2018, back-up cameras became required n all new cars and light trucks made in the U.S. For older vehicles, add-on rearview camera systems are available at price points ranging from $50 to $300.
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