Monthly Safety Tip
There has been a recent increase in the number of Vehicle Incident Reports at Mainstream Living. Please remember it is every staff person’s responsibility to fill out a Vehicle Incident Report at the time you discover damage to any vehicles. Vehicle safety is especially important especially when backing. One in four accidents can be blamed on poor backing up skills.
The National Safety Council provides the following:
- Think ahead. Drivers should not put themselves in an unnecessary backing situation.
- Park defensively. Drivers should select a parking space that is easy to exit such as a "pull-through" space or a spot where no other vehicles are nearby. Don’t crowd neighboring vehicles; be sure to park your vehicle in the middle of your space.
- Know your vehicle’s blind spots. Drivers need to remember that mirrors never give the whole picture while backing. In a medium-sized truck, blind spots can extend up to 16 feet in front and 160 feet behind the vehicle.
- Do a walk-around before entering the vehicle. This gives you a firsthand view of the backing area and any limitations. You can check for children, signs, poles, drop-offs, buildings, and other things you might hit if not attentive in your backing.
- Know your clearances. While performing your walk-around also check for obstructions, low hanging eaves and tree limbs, wires, and any other potential clearance-related obstacles.
- Alley parking is a special circumstance. If an alley doesn’t permit driving all the way through or room to turn around, you should back into it (if ordinances permit) so when leaving you can pull forward into the street rather than backing blindly out into the street.
- Use a spotter. Have another person help when backing. The driver and spotter should use hand signals instead of verbal instructions. This may take some practice so that you understand each other’s signals. Do not allow the spotter to be positioned directly behind your vehicle or walk backwards behind you while giving instructions. They should be off to the driver’s side where you can see them in your side mirror.
- Drivers sometimes must spot for themselves. They need to return to the vehicle and start backing within a few seconds after finishing their walk-around. This will allow very little time for people, cars, or other obstacles to change the backup conditions. Backing without a spotter should only take place after the driver has learned as much as possible about the area they are backing into.
- Every backing situation is new and different. Sometimes a driver visits the same location several times a day. The driver should be watchful each visit for changes and new obstacles (new vehicles, trash cans, people, etc.