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Backing Up Safely

Jun 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Geri Roskopf's Blog

My husband told me the service writer at a repair shop where he recently dropped off a tractor/trailer combo asked him to back the unit up into a space in the back of their lot. I guess the driver of the tractor was impressed because my husband was able to make the drop without having to realign himself a couple of times – he did it in one try. The driver said, “You must have been doing this for a while. It would have taken me a few times and I wouldn’t be driving a tow truck too.”

I had to laugh as I feel the same way as that truck driver. I have a hard time backing my own vehicle up, let alone having something attached and trying to back up. I give tow operators a lot of credit for their skill and expertise when backing up safely with a tractor-trailer, coach bus or even a VW Jetta on the hook.

The Safety Meeting article in this month’s Tow Times magazine addresses backing safety. The article states: “The average truck driver may drive thousands of miles going forward, but have you considered that most of them cover less than a mile or two per year in reverse?” While the distance is minimal, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration says there are least 500,000 backing accidents of some type every year and of those, “15,000 include some type of injury and approximately 210 deaths.”  

Bullet points of the article include: avoid backing up, use a spotter, G.O.A.L. (Get Out and Look), use every trick in the book, back up slowly and towing considerations. While I don’t drive a tow truck, I did find many useful tips I can use in backing up my own vehicle.

There is a bright side, the next Tow Times article I’m going to read is titled: “Coming Fast and Furious: Autonomous Vehicles.” These vehicles might be right up my alley when it comes to backing up safely.