Backing a truck is one of the most difficult and dangerous manoeuvres to perform. It is frustrating and time-consuming; a skill that can only be learned by doing your reps. Like everything in trucking, the most important thing about backing is to make safety your priority.
If you’re new to the industry or haven’t mastered the skill of backing, give it time and check out these tips to help you out:
Make a plan. Think about your setup and the available space to use for backing. Whenever possible, back in from your view side.
Know what’s happening in the area at all times. Know where other vehicles are and keep in mind of the points where pedestrians may enter the scene. If any vehicles start to move or people appear you need to know immediately. Situations change in an instant.
Don’t assume that the people around you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, or are even aware you’re there. If you don’t know what another vehicle or person around you is doing – stop and communicate with them.
Look for obstructions and hazards in and around the spot in which you’re backing. Obstructions, tight spaces, and other trucks are recipes for a costly fender-bender.
Check the spot you’re backing into. Check your clearance on either side of the space you’re backing into and check for low canopies, pallets, or other obstructions in your spot.
Stop, get out and check if you become unsure if you’re getting too close to something while backing. There is no harm in pulling up to adjust your position – even seasoned veterans get out and look.
Always back out of traffic and not into traffic; this includes backing into parking spots so you can pull forward out of the spot and backing off the road so you can pull forward out of a lot and into traffic.
Last, but not least, backing is not a race and you have nothing to prove to anyone. Your job as a professional is to get it done safely. Being accident-free is no accident – it’s good habits, being safety minded, and focused at all times.