Spirited discussions about vehicle wrecks and general automotive safety tend to overlook that we are often, literally, moving backward.
It may not be at the same high speeds as we propel ourselves forward, but injuries and fatalities still occur. Going in reverse is necessary for parallel parking, for delicately untangling ourselves when we overshoot a crosswalk at an intersection or stick out too far into traffic, for backing into (or out of) parking spaces and driveways. There are even the unintended rolling reverse for those who park their manual transmission vehicles on a hill and the ill-advised “back up because you missed your exit” maneuver we’ve all seen people execute on the highway.
Back-up accidents may not seem like a big deal since they typically occur at low speeds, but it isn’t the speed that makes them so dangerous. The real issue is that most backing up collisions involve a vehicle and a pedestrian, rather than two vehicles, resulting in devastating injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, paralysis, and even death. To make matters worse, those who are most susceptible to being involved in these accidents are the very young and the very old. Individuals under age 5 and over age 70 make up more than 75 percent of annual backover fatalities, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Toddlers are difficult to see, and they don’t have experience with the dangers of the road and parking lots. They’re short, often fall into people’s blind spots, and can very suddenly be in danger’s path.
Any pedestrian has an elevated risk of injury in a back-up accident compared to those who are in another vehicle. Bicyclists, joggers, skateboarders, bystanders, mail carriers, and dog walkers are just a few of the categories of people that a driver needs to look for before moving in reverse. Accidents can happen at any time. The single best action a driver can take is to use the vehicle’s mirrors and turn his or her head when backing up rather than putting the burden on the pedestrian to react to backup lights.
Relying on backup cameras is a dangerous choice. The technology is fooling motorists into not using their mirrors, but actually the projected image is not true to distance and it doesn’t have periphery vision. Humans are still the best gauge for when it’s safe to drive backward. Although all new vehicles are required to be equipped with a back-up camera by 2018, studies show that drivers tend to be overconfident while using them despite the fact they can be out of focus, dirty, and affected by lighting conditions.
These accidents can result in major property damage and personal injury, even at low speeds. Side impact collisions can easily happen when a car comes barreling down a parking aisle and T-bones someone backing out of a spot. Side impact accidents can result in fractures, brain injuries, spine injuries, and more.
General tips for staying safe while driving in reverse include:
- Improve visibility by making sure mirrors are in the best position for your sightline.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is walking, who is pulling out around you, and who is waiting for your parking place before you even get into the car.
- Know your blind spots.
- Practice your backing up and parallel parking skills, if necessary. Sometimes, practice is all you need.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Get off your phone.
If you or someone you love has been hurt as a result of a back-over accident, it is absolutely essential to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced Georgia backup collision lawyer. For more than 50 years, the Mann Law Firm has been helping people put their lives back on track. We have successfully represented victims who have been injured in backover crashes as well as the families of those who have been killed by a reckless driver. We are ready to help you, can assist you in determining whether you have a valid claim and, if so, pledge to work closely with you every step of the way. Our office in Macon serves all of Middle Georgia, including Dublin, Warner Robins and Milledgeville. A graduate of Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, backing up accident attorney David Mann knows how the Georgia legal system operates and can help you get the maximum amount of recovery. For advice on how to proceed next, please call us at (478) 742-3381 or fill out our form today to schedule your initial consultation.
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