The driver is always responsible when backing.
Backing becomes dangerous if you don't ensure the way is clear. Investigations often show collisions that happen when a vehicle is backing is a result of the driver not paying attention.
All drivers can reduce collisions when backing if they follow these backing rules:
- Avoid unnecessary backing - plan ahead to minimize backing distances.
- Use a guide whenever possible. The guide should have a clear continuous view of the backing path the vehicle will follow and should be visible to you throughout the manoeuvre.
- Whenever possible, plan your approach so you can view the area into which you will be backing.
- Don't back the vehicle to the blind side when it is possible to back to the view side.
- Always back out of traffic rather than into traffic. The left driver (as illustrated at bottom of page) has backed out of traffic. When they leave the laneway, they will be able to observe traffic readily. The right driver has taken the easy way out of traffic, but now faces the problem of backing into traffic to leave the laneway.
- Before backing a vehicle without a guide you must:
- Set the park brake.
- Step out of the vehicle and look at the backing area for hazards.
- Check for clearances and obstacles above, below, to the sides, to the rear and to the front of the vehicle.
- Enter the cab: if there is no guide present, sound horn before moving. Observe both mirrors while backing slowly. If the backing distance is long, stop at intervals and re-check behind, above, below, to the side and ahead. Rather than making one long backing manoeuvre, it is safer to make a series of short backing manoeuvres.
A human life is worth more than the few extra moments it takes to be sure the way is clear. Remember, even with a guide, you are responsible for any collision which might occur as a result of your actions.