Although efforts are often focused on reducing road accidents, a majority of accidents often occur at shipping locations. Unfortunately, the number of fixed-object collisions at shipping sites has been trending higher.
Many drivers, especially new drivers, falsely believe that the risk of an accident is reduced once they get off the road and enter a parking lot, truck stop or shipping location. Because of this, drivers can drop their guard and tend to become less vigilant.
Drivers need to be especially vigilant once they leave the roadway. As they pull off the road and enter a parking or shipping area, they are now actually in a very dangerous zone. Off-road sites often have no posted speed limits or directional signs for traffic. Add in heavy traffic in a congested area and an inattentive driver may end up inadvertently hitting either a fixed or moving object. The following tips should be helpful to drivers when they are moving around off-road sites:
- Enter the correct truck/shipping entrance – Complete a pre-trip plan and have knowledge of the site before you get there
- Move slowly – Be vigilant, 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’re stopped
- Be seen – Turn on 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, overhead and check for safe clearances
- After your walk-around – Don’t delay in moving your vehicle to allow a potential hazard to have time to move in behind you
- Sound your horn – This will alert people nearby that the truck is about to move; keep the four-way flashers on
- Keep your eyes moving – Check mirrors frequently, remain alert and back slowly
- If possible, use a spotter – A backing accident is always a driver’s fault, so don’t rely solely on the spotter
- Walk around the vehicle – Make sure nothing is in your path 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 – Paperwork, food, drinks, seat belts, etc. should all be in the proper position for driving; avoid any distractions
- Plan your exit before you move – Know where you’re going to exit and which direction you will be turning before you move the truck
- Be aware of trailer tail-swing when exiting – Damage often occurs to gates and fencing from inattention to tail-swing
Following safe driving guidelines in parking/shipping areas may take extra time, but consider the consequence if an accident happens. Please remember: Getting out and looking is the sign of a professional driver, not an inexperienced driver.