Baking up a semi safely is a challenge. Often, it takes ample practice and patience to get used to the process, as well as a lot of situational and spatial awareness. Plus, ensuring you don’t cut corners is a must, as following the right procedure is the foundation of trucking safety when it comes to backing up semis.
Fortunately, the process is easier if you keep certain things in mind. Here are some tips that ensure you’re backing up safely.
Begin with Visibility
Before you start backing up your semi, make sure others can clearly see your truck is about to move. Use your hazards to draw attention to your vehicle. If people are nearby, a quick tap of your horn can let them know you’re about to move, increasing the odds that they’ll notice and give you a wide berth.
Exit Your Vehicle
Another step that’s worth taking before you back up is to exit your cab and do a quick walkaround. You can see what’s near your vehicle with greater clarity, allowing you to account for objects or pathways that aren’t visible in your mirrors or out of your windows.
Semis have large blind spots, and those blind spots will shift as you back up. Make sure you’re continuously scanning while you move. Transition between all of your mirrors, and don’t forget to look out the windows and windshield to get views of what’s to your side and front.
Choose the Right Spaces
Some parking spots are far easier to enter or exit than others. Since that’s the case, it’s best to select spaces that simplify the process. If you can find options that let you pull through instead of back up, that’s preferable. However, if backing up the semi is a must, opting for a space with suitable maneuvering room and visibility ensures leaving is as simple as possible.
In some cases, your route takes you to the same places regularly, and you use one spot repeatedly. When that happens, you might start assuming that you don’t have as much to worry about when backing up due to your familiarity with the area. However, circumstances can change. Plus, familiarity can lead to complacency, making you less vigilant.
Regardless of how many times you’ve been in a particular lot or spot, always treat it like it’s the first time. By doing so, you’ll remain attentive.
Use a Buddy
When possible, ask a buddy to act as a spotter when you’re backing up a semi. They can keep an eye on objects or people that aren’t visible to the driver. Plus, they may hear noises that the driver can’t, allowing them to alert the driver to potential hazards.
Make sure the buddy uses hand signals over verbal instruction and that they’re visible in a mirror or out of a window. That ensures that noise won’t prevent them from giving the driver directions.
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Ultimately, all of the tips above can improve trucking safety while backing up. If you’d like to learn more or are seeking out new driver opportunities, PTS® wants to hear from you. Contact us today.