Back-up accidents are quite common in the trucking industry. Many large vehicles such as tractor-trailers, construction vehicles, flatbeds and delivery trucks have difficulty backing up due to their size, control issues, blind spots, inability to steer the vehicle, and other factors. Reversing a truck is also complicated by the fact that a trailer or back-end of the truck may pivot in a different direction than the cab of the truck. If the truck driver doesn’t back out properly, the truck could jackknife.
According to TDI, trucks should have rearview mirrors, side mirrors, cameras to aid in back up, devices that detect the proximity of a truck to other vehicles, and other safety features. These features help but there are still many protocols that truck drivers should use when backing into or out of a loading dock, onto a roadway, or into other work locations.
Common safety precautions for truckers backing up
Truck drivers should be trained by the trucking companies and shipping companies that hire them to learn how to properly back up before they start delivering loads across Washington.
Truck drivers should:
- Walk around the area they will be backing into to understand what direction the truck needs to move and along what lines
- Check that the mirrors are positioned properly and that the back-out cameras and alarms are working correctly
- Look for any clearance issues including wires, trees, and overhead objects
- Use a spotter, another person, to direct them while they’re driving their truck in reverse
- Turn off the radio and stop doing anything that might distract them
- Move any objects in their path and tell anyone nearby to stop moving while they’re backing out
- Use any available landmarks or available visual aids to assist the backing out maneuvers
- Make sure that other drivers and pedestrians are aware of the truck – by sounding the horn and using the truck’s lights
- Not rush it – back out as slowly as possible
- Use the trailer and tires as guides
Trucking companies are responsible for training their drivers properly. Part of that training involves learning how to safely back up a truck. This particular skill is used all the time, as big-rigs need to be backed into loading docks pretty regularly. If a trucking company fails to properly train its drivers, and the trucker causes an accident while reversing, then the company itself could also be held liable for any injuries you sustain in a truck accident.
Truck drivers shouldn’t be afraid to start over. It’s better to be safe by starting over than sorry by backing into someone, another vehicle, or any stationary property. Truck drivers should also understand when backing out simply isn’t an option – that it’s better, if possible, to drive forward and turn the whole truck around. It’s best to plan ahead: to park the truck either where backing out can be done safely, or to park in a safer location.
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA truck accident lawyers hold truck drivers, brokers, truck owners, shipping companies, and others accountable when their negligence causes death or any type of personal injury. To discuss any truck accident with an experienced Vancouver and Battle Ground attorney, call us at 360-200-7137 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.