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Friday, April 09, 2010

Driving in Reverse a Dangerous Task

Driving in the reverse gear is one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers new and experienced drivers can make. What makes driving in reverse difficult is the driver must position his body from looking straight ahead through the front windshield, to looking through the rear window. This technique usually means taking one hand off the steering wheel and draping it over the passenger seat.

It is important to remember that when backing up, you accelerate slowly because the front of your vehicle will swing out. This adds a second problem which is you must consistently turn your head from viewing the rear window to facing forward to observe traffic coming in your direction. This turning from front to back can be extremely dangerous for someone suffering from a neck injury or arthritis.

The following tips should help you when driving in reverse.

  • Try avoiding backing up, if possible. You might want to consider making a legal U-turn, or driving around the block to come back to the parking spot or address you were looking for. Keep in mind that backing up on an interstate or rural highway is against the law. It's always best to go to the next exit and come back.

  • Don’t distract yourself when backing up and that means no talking on a cell phone, texting a friend or engaging in conversation with another passenger. You need to keep focused on the driving, in a reverse maneuver.

  • Make sure you know the dimensions of your vehicle especially if you aren’t driving your personal vehicle. There is a big difference in backing up a standard vehicle as compared to an SUV or truck.

  • Remember when driving in reverse at night, there are added visibility problems. When driving in reverse, the traffic behind you only sees your back up and brake lights, which are not as bright as your headlights.

  • As part of regular vehicle maintenance, always check to see that your back up and brake lights are in working order. Actually, you should check all your lights at least once a week.

  • Before backing, make sure to check for any unseen children or objects in your way.

  • In shopping malls or supermarket parking areas, back out of a parking space very slowly as many times other cars parked next to you will obstruct your view. And be especially aware of runaway shopping carts in supermarket parking lots.

It is always best to try and avoid driving in reverse because it is a dangerous maneuver; however, if you take your time, and follow the suggestions listed above, you can do it successfully avoiding a crash.

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