Many drivers falsely believe that the risk of accidents is reduced once they exit the road and enter a parking lot, truck stop or shipping location. They often drop their guard and tend to become less vigilant.
However, a large percentage of a fleet’s annual collisions occur in off-road areas. Drivers need to be especially careful once they leave the roadway. As they enter a parking or shipping area, they are now actually in a very dangerous zone.
Off-road sites often have no posted speed limits and directional signs for traffic. Add heavy traffic in a congested area and an inattentive driver may end up inadvertently hitting either a fixed or moving object.
The following are a few tips that may help drivers avoid a collision in a parking area or shipping location:
- Enter at the correct entrance – complete a pre-trip plan and have knowledge of the site before you get there
- Move slowly – take your time… don’t speed and don’t feel rushed to move your vehicle
- Avoid distractions – turn off all electronic communication devices and don’t eat or drink anything until you’ve stopped
- Be seen – turn on the headlights and four-way flashers
- Be alert – watch for pedestrians, stationary objects, signage, low clearances and other moving vehicles
- Before you back up, walk around the vehicle and look underneath and overhead, checking for safe clearances
- After your walk-around, don’t delay in moving your vehicle, which will help to prevent a hazard from entering the space behind you
- Sound your horn to alert anyone that the truck is about to move and keep the four-way flashers on
- Keep your eyes moving, checking mirrors frequently, remain alert, and back slowly
If possible, use a spotter, but keep in mind that a backing accident is always a driver’s fault, so don’t rely solely on the spotter
- Walk around the vehicle to make sure nothing is in the way and your clearances haven’t changed
- Don’t feel rushed to leave… remember to always move slowly
- Be prepared for the drive before you move and avoid any distractions… paperwork, food, drinks, phones, seatbelts, etc. should all be addressed before driving
- Plan your exit before you move… know where you are going to exit and in which direction you will be turning before you move the truck
- If applicable, be aware of your trailer when exiting, as damage often occurs to gates and fencing from inattention to tail-swing
Following safe driving guidelines in parking and shipping areas may take extra time, but it is definitely worth it to prevent potential accidents and injuries.
Always remember… safety first!