Drivers think differently about the highest risk cause of collisions than does the auto insurance industry. Driving fast on a dark road and running a red light are risky, but the most common source of collisions in auto claims happens while drivers are backing up, according to the National Non-Profit Risk Management Center.
Many drivers have had the typical experience… backing out of a driveway into a parked car… backing out in a parking lot and striking a boundary pole… swiping the car beside them as them turn while backing from a parking space.
So how can you reduce risks when backing up?
1. Survey Your Situation. Before you get into your vehicle, look all around it to assess how much space you have to maneuver, where pedestrian or automotive traffic may come from, and for any obstacles you might fail to see once you’re in the car.
2. Keep Your Windows Clear. Beware of clothes on courtesy hangers limiting your side view or items on your rear deck, either blocking your line of sight or reflecting blinding light on your rear window.
3. Back Up Slowly. Controlling a car in reverse is inherently more difficult than going forward. Keep your speed under 3 mph.
4. Always Turn Around and Look Directly Back. Don’t just rely on your mirrors – even when they’re aimed properly so as to avoid blind spots, they offer a less than the 180-degree rear view you need when backing up.
5. Turn Only After Clearing Obstacles. Don’t start turning your wheel until you’re sure you will clear any surrounding objects, like other vehicles, signs or light poles.