Backing a Tractor Trailer - GOAL: Get Out And Look

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Backing a Tractor Trailer Safely

Backing a tractor trailer presents many challenges including limited visibility around the truck, the physical size of the truck, tight dock locations, and sometimes limited experience or skill in a particular maneuver or in certain conditions in an articulated vehicle.

Because of these factors, fixed object accidents are one of the most common types of accidents in the trucking industry. However, the secret to avoiding an accident is quite simple:

Get Out And Look (GOAL).

backing-a-tractor-trailerGetting out and looking will significantly lower your risk when backing or maneuvering your vehicle, even in the tightest situations. Backing and fixed object accidents are completely preventable if you have a complete understanding of your surroundings.

Always have a safe maneuvering plan. Follow these steps for safety.

  • Eliminate Backing – Whenever feasible, eliminate backing. Example: use pull through parking rather than backing in or out a spot.
  • Drive Slowly – Always drive slowly when backing or maneuvering in tight situations. Idle speed is sufficient. Never rush backing up.
  • Never Back in Traffic – Don’t back on a roadway, highway, expressway, etc., unless directed by police.
  • Announce Yourself – Use the four-way flashers and tap the horn twice before reversing — once for attention and the second time for direction.
  • GOAL – Get Out and Look – Before backing any vehicle, drivers should exit the vehicle and perform a visual inspection of their surroundings and space.
  • Start Over – If a vehicle has been stopped or parked for any length of time, the driver should exit the vehicle and perform a visual inspection before moving. Situations can change quickly a driver’s attention is elsewhere.

Use a Spotter

If available, use a spotter to help back or maneuver in a tight spot. Here are some potential situations when a spotter is particularly handy when backing.

  • If a pedestrian or other traffic is anticipated
  • If children are present or nearby.
  • If the driver does not have a clear vision of the path of travel.

Other Tips for Backing with a Spotter

The spotter(s) should be on the ground, to the rear of the vehicle, and should remain visible to the driver at all times.

When a spotter is utilized to assist the driver, drivers should remember that the driver is still responsible for the vehicle.  Drivers are to use the advice of the helper; not to depend upon them.  If a driver backs into a fixed object or otherwise has a collision, the driver will be held responsible for the accident.

If the driver loses sight of the spotter(s) at any time, the driver should immediately stop the vehicle.

Posted by intd on March 9, 2016 |