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​Tips for backing up safely
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Many back-over accidents may be  preventable when you follow the tips below.

Back-over accidents kill about 300 people a year and injure another 18,000 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tragically, 35% of the fatalities are children under age 5, many of whom are struck in their own driveways by a family member.

While back-up risks can vary, these tips can help no matter what kind of vehicle you drive:

  • Take a safety walk. Before you get in the car, walk behind it to make sure there’s nothing back there. Once you’ve checked, move the car right away (don’t wait a few minutes while the car warms up). If you have kids, make sure another adult is supervising them as you back out.
  • Trim shrubbery around your driveway to ensure you can see the sidewalk and pedestrians can see as you back out.
  • Make a “feet on the grass” rule. Teach children and grandchildren that when they see someone walking to a parked car or hear an engine start, they must be standing in the grass – not on the pavement.
  • Park at the street-end of your driveway (not the garage-end) if children play in your driveway.
  • Park farther from the store. Everyone, including harried moms with toddlers, must walk behind the cars parked just outside the door when they come and go from the store. The number of pedestrians – and your chances of colliding with one – thins considerably the farther away you park.
  • Consider retrofitting your car with a backup camera. That’s especially important if you’re short; drive a large vehicle like a pickup, minivan, or SUV; or suffer from back or neck injuries that make it difficult for you to turn and look over your shoulders. You can pick up a camera for as little as $100.

HOW TO TEST YOUR BLIND SPOT

A back-up blind spot – the area directly behind a car that a driver can’t see – varies widely depending on the vehicle and the height of the driver. Ask a friend to help you test your vehicle’s blind spot. Starting at the middle of your back bumper, have your friend move a standard 28-inch cone (or similar object) straight back from your car until you can just see its top. The distance may surprise you – perhaps 10 feet for tall drivers in small sedans and as much as 50 feet for short drivers in pickup trucks.

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