10 Tips For Backing Up A Car Safely
Updated: May 26
Backing up a vehicle is a challenge for every new driver. Not only are you maneuvering the vehicle in an unfamiliar way -- a vehicle you’re probably still getting used to -- but you also have limited visibility.
It is estimated that poor backing up techniques can be blamed for approximately 25% of collisions. Hundreds of pedestrians are killed every year by backup collisions, many of which are children under the age of five.
Why Is Backing Up So Dangerous To Pedestrians?
Even at a very slow speed, backing up a car is dangerous -- especially in larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs. Depending on the type of vehicle and the height of the driver, a rear blind spot can extend as far as 15 meters.
As many as 62 children can fit in the blind spot of a large SUV, and in some models, anyone under 5’ tall is completely invisible to the driver using just their mirrors. Even when reversing at a glacial speed, impact with a child can result in tragedy, with the majority of backing up incidents occurring in driveways and parking lots.
Don’t hang up your keys just yet —by developing good driving habits, new drivers can avoid back-up collisions and become better all-around drivers.
Top 10 Tips For Backing Up A Car Safely
Here are our Top 10 Tips for Backing Up a Car for new drivers:
Get to know your vehicle's blind spots and the areas they cover. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to help you identify your blind spots, and remember that steep inclines add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
Confirm that you have a clear path before starting to reverse. If there’s any doubt, get out of your vehicle and do a walk-around, checking especially for children and other pedestrians who may not be visible in your mirrors.
Double check all of your mirrors before you put your vehicle in reverse.
Back up slowly and be prepared to stop.
If you’re in a vehicle with an especially large blindspot, like a truck or SUV, it’s a good idea to use a spotter. Have your passenger or someone nearby guide you into the spot, as well as ward off pedestrians and other vehicles until you’re safely parked.
Be extra cautious in bad weather; small children can slip on ice and become lodged under your vehicle's tire.
Ensure that your rear window and side mirrors are clear of frost, snow, mud or anything else that could further obscure your vision.
Don’t rush the process. Impulsive actions behind the wheel can lead to tragic consequences —take the time to take every precaution.
Whenever possible, choose a location that you can drive into and out of. If this is not possible, back into the spot so that you can drive out.
Why Reverse Parking Is Safer
Reverse parking is considered to be safer because it prevents drivers from having to blind back out of a space and into areas where pedestrians are likely to be (sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc).
Whenever possible, it’s always safer to back into the spot, whether it’s in a parking lot or your own driveway, because you have a clearer view of the spot (and what’s in front of it) when you drive past it.
Maintaining Good Backing Up Habits Saves Lives
Most new cars are now equipped with backup cameras to prevent backup incidents; if your car is not equipped with a backup camera, you can also buy and install an aftermarket backup camera.
However, drivers should not rely solely upon rear-view cameras and sensors; it’s critical for new drivers to develop and maintain good driving habits in order to reverse a vehicle safely.
If reversing a car confuses you, you’re not alone. That’s why DriveWise’s SafeStart new driver training program covers safe backing up and reverse parking techniques, among many other skills new drivers need to stay safe behind the wheel.
For more information about our programming and how we can help you become a safe and skilled driver, give us a call at 1-705-730-1130 or reach out to one of our representatives through our online contact form or chat window. Register now for SafeStart new driver training.