Backover accidents are especially heartbreaking because they often involve children and drivers who are completely unaware of their presence. They commonly occur in private driveways at people’s homes or in parking lots. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk of being hit. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 232 fatalities and 13,000 injuries caused by backover crashes annually.
Safety Tips to Prevent These Accidents
These accidents often occur when a person does not fully understand the blind zones behind his vehicle—the area where a driver cannot see even when looking back and properly using his side and rear mirrors. Some key points about blind zones include:
- The average blind zone is 15 to 25 feet behind a vehicle.
- Shorter drivers have larger blind zones.
- A larger vehicle like an SUV, van, or truck has a much larger blind zone than a smaller one.
In addition, children do not realize the danger of a slow moving vehicle and often incorrectly assume that the driver can see them. Ways to prevent these crashes include the following:
- Always walk around your vehicle before backing up.
- Know where your children are before backing up and have them move to where you can see them before proceeding.
- Install a rearview camera, back-up sensors, or other mirrors and use them in addition to looking back. These safety features can be purchased even if they are not offered on your vehicle model.
- Make certain your children hold hands with an adult in parking lots at all times.
- Teach your children that a parked vehicle could move at any time and that even if they can see the driver, he may not be able to see them.
- Teach your children never to play around vehicles or in the driveway.
- If you have another adult or teen passenger with you, have them get out of the vehicle and watch for children while you back up.
- Keep toys, bikes, and sports equipment out of the driveway.
- Roll your window down before backing up, so you can hear if a child comes outside unexpectedly or someone warns you to stop.
- Trim landscaping around a driveway so drivers can see the sidewalk, road, and pedestrians near the driveway.
Backover accidents are sadly almost always preventable. It is important that we take the risks seriously and educate our children, families, friends, and neighbors to help prevent these very tragic crashes.
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