10 Tips for Avoiding Backing Fender Benders
Posted by Cliff J. on August 16, 2017 in Trucker Focus

After a long day of driving to make pickups and deliveries, planning routes over congested roads, and determining hours available yet to drive, you have finally found a safe place to park the rig for the night—or at least you thought so. Unfortunately, most fender benders to CMVs occur while at shipping docks, truck stops, and similar locations. Also, a significant percentage of CMV crashes occur while a driver is backing up or by being backed into.


Due to greater congestion, larger CMVs, and newer drivers still learning, professional CMV drivers of today must exercise more diligence in safeguarding their equipment and driving record than in the past. It only takes looking at the overflowing truck stops, rest areas, and on-ramps to realize drivers have to be more on guard than ever.


The cost of these crashes not only affects a motor carrier’s ability to remain competitive with other transportation companies, but also impacts insurance. When these minor crashes are reported on a motor carrier’s CSA scores and a driver’s MVR, insurance company underwriters want to know what is happening and how it is being managed to prevent reoccurrence.


The following 10 points discuss some solutions that may help your company address these hazards.


  1. Does dispatch or a driver manager help in pre- planning routes and share this information with the driver? If so, identify safe parking locations in advance.
  2. In addition to using experience to identify safe parking locations, some drivers use tools such as Park My Truck, TSPS, Roadbreakers, DAT Trucker, Truckbubba, and more. Choose the one that best suits your needs and geographical location.
  3. Use rest areas designed to allow trucks to pull through a parking spot instead of backing.
  4. Some truckers are choosing weigh stations to park their trucks as they are often well lit with pull-through spots. Several states are encouraging truck drivers to use these facilities at night to help with the truck parking shortage.
  5. Attempt to find parking spots that are in a straight line. This allows you to pull through to your spot. If you do have to back up, try to do it from the driver’s side rather than the blind side.
  6. Use GOAL: Get Out And Look. Drivers sometimes take unnecessary risk by continuing to back up even though they are unsure of where their trailer is and how it is swinging in relation to other parked equipment.
  7. Use your four-ways when pulling through a lot and backing up. Drivers in parking lots can often be tired or distracted, and four-way indicator lights activate peripheral vision and increase the likelihood they will see you. If needed, sound your horn to alert other drivers.
  8. Avoid parking spots where truck traffic is crossing directly in front of or to your side. These spots increase your exposure to damage from trailers not being swung wide enough to make the corner.
  9. Drivers can respectfully provide feedback to truck stops and their employer on any parking safety issues they find. As a professional driver, you have the right to expect safe and acceptable parking facilities.
  10. Keep your dash camera on at all times. On roadways, most CMV-related crashes are caused by passenger vehicles, and it is important to have this evidence to defend yourself. In parking lots, dash cameras can capture how damage occurs when you’re out of the truck, allowing you to seek compensation for repairs. 
Cliff J. is our Trucking guru
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.

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