"I always thought I was really good at backing up. I was good at using my mirrors and I never backed up into anything. I was driving a service truck on a site, and my partner and I were servicing the heavy machinery. The equipment was lined up in 3 rows, and we were making our way down the rows. When we finished, I noticed that we forgot to do the big excavator at the other end of the line. It was slightly off to the side, so we skipped it. I thought I would just back up to it since it would take way longer to drive around the rows of machines to get to it. I always liked to get nice and close to the machines because it means less line you have to pull out. My partner was in the passenger seat, and asked if I wanted a spot. I told him no, stay where you are. What I didn't see was that the boom was rotated, and the cab wasn't lined up with the tracks. I backed into the boom, and scraped a pretty big chunk off the rear of the truck roof. Even though I was only going about 5mph, it still caused a fair amount of damage. Since then, I always use a spotter when backing up - no matter how confident I am." - Brian (age 24) Service Truck Driver

Quick Tips

Backing up accounts for approximately 1% of driving activity, yet accounts for 25% of all accidents behind the wheel. There are many reasons why this is a reoccurring fact. Vision is more restricted when backing, thus there are several precautions to keep in mind when backing.

  1. When you are reversing, you are moving from a low hazard area into a high hazard area, and you’re doing it backwards. To avoid this, whenever you can, try to back into parking stalls. This avoids the need to back into a high hazard area, as you are backing into a low hazard area when backing into the stall

  2. Plan your route to avoid backing whenever possible. The less time you spend in reverse, the less time you’re at a higher risk for accidents

  3. Back slowly. No, really. Back up at a speed of no more than 5kmh. This speed ensures that you are able to keep control of your vehicle at all times while backing

  4. When possible, avoid backing to the blindside of the vehicle. Try to back from the driver’s side. Especially when backing out of a parking stall

  5. Be sure to walk around your vehicle before backing. Ensure that there are no hazards, and that the path is clear. Once you have done this, back up immediately after getting into your vehicle. The longer you wait between your walk around and backing, the more likely it is that a hazard has appeared in your backing path

  6. Use your mirrors. Rear view and side mirrors are there to help you. Just remember that depth perception can be slightly altered when using mirrors, so give yourself a bit more space than you see in the mirror to be cautious. If required, look out the driver’s side window for extra visibility

  7. Use a spotter. If there are any hazards, or even just for peace of mind, use a spotter when backing. Instruct your spotter to stand in your line of sight, and if you lose sight of your spotter, stop immediately. When backing into a garage, somewhere with a roof or overhang, an area of high vehicle or pedestrian traffic, or if you are in a vehicle that has little visibility via windows and mirrors, use a spotter to avoid an accident. If you don’t have another person to spot you, don’t be afraid to get out and reassess your position