Business and Nonprofit

Fleet management: Backing


Backing represents a majority of accidents in commercial vehicles in the U.S. The best way to avoid a backing accident is to avoid backing completely. Since this is not always possible, take these steps to avoid obvious errors and reduce the possibility of an accident.

1. Avoid backing, if possible.

  • Pull forward.
  • Where on your route do you have to back? Can you avoid backing?

2. Familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s controls.

  • While backing, the vehicle will handle in reverse anyway. If you can’t operate the vehicle when it operates as it is supposed to, then backing will be impossible.
  • What changes when a vehicle is backed?
  • How does your vehicle at work differ from your personal auto?

3. Use a spotter if possible.

  • Having someone direct you can reduce the possibility of an accident. However, don’t rely too heavily on the spotter.
  • Use your mirrors and look behind you while backing.
  • Use pre-arranged signals with the spotter.
  • Why can it be dangerous to rely on the spotter too heavily?
  • Who is responsible for the vehicle ─ the spotter or the driver?

4. Check the area before entering the vehicle.

Look for:

  • Children at play
  • Toys
  • Tools
  • Obstructions
  • Road conditions that could affect how the vehicle responds

What else should you look for?

5. Ensure nothing has changed behind your vehicle.

  • After checking the vehicle and starting the engine, your back is turned. Things can change in a fraction of a second. Make allowances for this and check for changes before putting the vehicle into gear.
  • What kind of changes can be expected?
  • How do you ensure that nothing has changed behind the vehicle from the driver’s seat?

Begin to back. Never take your eyes off the road. Engage the brakes before putting the vehicle into gear. Slowly begin to back. When should you relax?

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