Backing a commercial tractor and trailer is one of the most dangerous maneuvers a truck driver will ever be asked to do. Roughly 15% of all professional truck driving accidents occur while backing, and backing accidents are almost always preventable.
TWT Refrigerated is committed to safety: the safety of our drivers, our customer’s load, and our equipment. So with safety in mind, we’ve adopted these 7 best tips for backing a truck:
High enough, wide enough
Know your clearances! Before starting to back a truck, always make sure there is enough clearance for your trailer and enough room to back-in safely. If there is a delay between the start and finish of your maneuver, check again. By the time you finish that paperwork or enter deliveries in Qualcomm, somebody may have slipped in behind you.
Rear = right of way
If any vehicle or person approaches your truck from the rear, allow them to pass before continuing to back up.
Close needs care
Use care when backing against buildings or docks to prevent damage to your vehicle or the customer’s building. Slow is safe; safe is our goal.
Mirrors don’t have safety records
Mirrors can be deceiving. They should not be wholly depended on when backing. If you are in a tight spot, get out of the cab. Look if necessary, then look again.
Help isn’t always helpful
Do not depend on others to assist in giving you signals or backing directions. Spotters can be helpful, but they are never responsible for your collision; your truck, your responsibility.
Blindness is bad
Do not back out of a blind alley if there is any other feasible way of getting out. If you are considering backing blind because it seems faster or easier, reconsider. Choose slow and safe, every time.
Do not back in an intersection or while stopped in traffic unless it is absolutely necessary. Allow space in front of your truck to pull forward and around stopped vehicles. When in doubt, get out and look.
When there is 60 feet of trailer, 40,000 pounds of freight and an articulation behind you, backing a truck can be an intimidating task. But with these 7 Best Tips for Backing a Truck, it doesn’t have to be.