Did you know that there are over 200 fatalities each year resulting from “Backovers”? A Backover occurs when an unsuspecting driver of a vehicle accidentally runs over a pedestrian when the vehicle is driving in reverse. The majority of victims of Backover accidents are young or elderly. Unfortunately, even more tragic is that often the driver and victim are related.
NHTSA’s requirement for all new vehicles to contain backup cameras by 2018 is a step in the right direction. Common sense and using best practices while backing up, with or without a camera, will help prevent a tragedy from occurring. The overall goal is to eliminate the need to drive in reverse as much as possible. We at ivalueSafety.com have compiled a list of safety tips to avoid a Backover:
- Walk all the way around your parked vehicle to check for children and remove anything that could attract a child, like pets or toys under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.
- Accompany young children when they get in and out of a vehicle.
- Firmly hold the hand of each child when walking near moving vehicles, in driveways, in parking lots or on sidewalks. Children are the most unpredictable pedestrians and aren’t always seen by drivers due to their short stature. A driver is more prone to see the adult holding the child’s hand.
- Identify and use safe play areas away from parked or moving vehicles. Block driveways so cars cannot enter and exit. Designate a safe spot for children to wait, where a driver can see them, when nearby vehicles are about to move.
- Seek out the less desirable parking spaces that will inherently experience less pedestrian traffic.
- Minimize/eliminate the practice of baking up when parking in parking lots. Find empty back to back parking spaces, this will allow one to pull through to the parking space in the next row facing forward. This practice will eliminate the need of having to back out of the space when exiting.
- Back into a parking space when first arriving when back to back spaces aren’t available in a particular parking lot. Backing in when first arriving allows one to have the opportunity of viewing an empty parking space prior to backing in. Once again, this practice will eliminate the need of having to back out of the space when exiting later on when conditions might have changed i.e. an event or school ended.
- Utilize a spotter when backing up when either unsure of conditions, or there is a high volume of pedestrian or vehicular traffic in the area. Communicate signals before, turn off the radio and lower windows prior to backing up. Make sure that the spotter can be seen and heard at all times and is at a safe enough distance away from the backing up vehicle. Stop immediately when a spotter can neither be seen nor heard.
You can log onto Parents Central for additional backover and other vehicle safety tips.