Drivers of tractor-trailers, semis, and any type of large truck need to understand the dangers of backing up or driving in reverse. The simple and clear reality is that these maneuvers are extremely dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, “one in four vehicle accidents can be blamed on poor backing techniques. In a medium-sized truck, blind spots can extend up to 16 feet in front and 160 feet behind a vehicle.” In larger trucks, the blind spots in front and in the rear are even larger. It is those blind spots that making backing up so risky.
Even though large trucks make wide turns and need lots of room to maneuver, it is generally better to move the truck forward so it doesn’t have to back up into traffic or where there are vehicles or pedestrians.
Practical safety tips for backing up a truck
Some of the common safety procedures truck drivers should use before backing up are:
- Using any safety features, such as horns and reverse lights, to warn vehicles and people nearby.
- Learning and utilizing hand signals that may help other drivers.
- Educating themselves on the proper techniques for backing up or driving in reverse.
- Understanding where the blinds spots are, and the limitations of mirrors.
- Practicing backing up or driving in reverse in a private location.
- Using a spotter to guide the truck whenever possible.
In general, it is better to avoid having to back up at all, but that is not always possible.
Why is backing up so dangerous to other drivers?
The simple answer is that blind spots are dangerous – for drivers and for other vehicles on the road. A truck driver cannot avoid what he or she cannot see, and accidents do happen. While traveling, drivers may need several lanes to maneuver their trucks into the correct lane, owing to their sheer size. If another car is too close, or ignore the signals that the truck is turning, the other car and its passengers can be crushed. Backing up poses a risk to workers, too – especially on loading docks, and in truck depots.
Drivers of big rigs and other large trucks should especially try to avoid backing up when it’s raining, dark, or when the elements reduce the driver’s vision and ability to control the truck.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our truck accident drivers hold drivers and trucking companies accountable when accidents occur. We work with trucking professionals to understand when standard truck safety procedures were violated. We then fight to obtain compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. Our Sevierville lawyers represent victims and families injured throughout Tennessee, including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Seymour. To speak with a trusted truck accident lawyer, call us at (865) 428-8780 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.