How to Prevent a Backing-Up Accident

Backing up a car may seem routine, but it carries risks.  Although drivers spend less than one percent of their driving careers in reverse, backing-up car accidents account for almost one-quarter of all crashes, with an even higher rate for fleet drivers. 

Accidents that occur while reversing are not only common but often result in property damage, injuries, and sometimes even fatalities.  Unfortunately, backing-up accidents are almost always preventable.  According to the National Safety Council, one of every four reversing accidents is due to driver error and poor backing techniques. 

Backing up accidents is dangerous for pedestrians as well.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), back-up accidents cause about 15,000 injuries and 500 deaths yearly. 

Many reasons can cause a backing-up accident, including:

  • Driver error or drivers failing to look properly behind them
  • Height of the driver
  • Large blind spots
  • Physical barriers, such as traffic signs, trees, etc.
  • Weather conditions
  • Improper lighting

Here are a few tips to help a driver safely navigate in reverse:

  • Use your mirrors: One of the most crucial aspects of safe backing is using your vehicle’s mirrors effectively. Adjust your side and rearview mirrors to provide a clear view of the surrounding areas. Before initiating the backing maneuver, take a moment to check these mirrors to ensure there are no obstacles or pedestrians in your path.
  • Check blind spots: Mirrors might not cover all blind spots, so turning your head to check these areas before backing up is essential. Blind spots exist around the rear corners of your vehicle and may hide approaching pedestrians or other vehicles. Make it a habit to glance over your shoulder to eliminate blind spots from your field of vision.
  • Backup camera: Modern vehicles often come equipped with backup cameras, providing a real-time view of the area behind your car. Consider installing an aftermarket backup camera if your vehicle doesn’t have one. These devices can significantly enhance visibility and help you detect obstacles from your direct line of sight.
  • Park strategically: Choose spots that allow for easy departure when parking. Opt for places where you can pull through or park in a way that minimizes the need for extensive backing. Parking strategically reduces the likelihood of backing up in crowded or challenging environments.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians: Pedestrians can be unpredictable, especially in parking lots. Keep a keen eye out for people walking behind or around your vehicle. Children, in particular, may not always be visible in your mirrors, so remain vigilant and proceed with caution.
  • Use parking sensors: Besides backup cameras, parking sensors can provide audible alerts when your vehicle gets too close to an object. These sensors are a valuable tool, especially in tight parking spaces with limited visibility.
  • Take your time: Rushing when backing up increases the risk of accidents. Take your time, especially in unfamiliar areas or tight spaces. Use slow, controlled movements, and avoid sudden acceleration or sharp turns. Patience is key to safe backing.
  • Avoid distractions: Distractions can significantly impair your ability to focus on the task. When backing up, eliminate distractions such as using your phone, adjusting the radio, or engaging in conversations. Stay focused on the task of safely navigating in reverse.
  • Know your vehicle: Different vehicles have different blind spots and handling characteristics. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s specific blind spots and turning radius. Understanding how your car behaves in reverse will help you navigate more safely.

A Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Advocates for Victims Injured in Backing-Up Accidents

A backing-up accident can severely injure you. If you need legal help, contact a Mount Holly car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman.  Call us at 856-751-2345 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.  Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Burlington County and the surrounding areas.