reversing image

ARTICLE: Avoiding costly damage

Safety & legislation 10 Sep 2019

Even the most careful and experienced of drivers sometimes find manoeuvring and reversing in car parks difficult. Most of us don’t do much reversing when you consider that a fraction of our driving time is backwards and the statistics speak for themselves. Around 28%* of all accidents with company cars involve reversing while parking and manoeuvring in car parks.

While these accidents happen at low speeds, the design of modern vehicles means that even a small error can result in a four figure bill.

Low speed often equates to a low perceived risk and often we fall foul of mentally switching off in the car park. So, how can business drivers ensure that they avoid costly dents, scrapes and prangs to vehicles while parking? Being aware of the pitfalls and following a few simple safety steps can make a real difference.

*Arval 2015 accident data

Think R-E-V-E-R-S-E

When it comes to avoiding accidents while manoeuvring, R.E.V.E.R.S.E. provides a reminder of some of the key points to remember.

R - Reversing 
into a parking space is generally much safer than reversing out into a potentially busy area. On leaving, it means that you can simply drive straight out of the bay, giving you the best visibility of oncoming traffic. When reversing out of a space, your observation tends to be limited, especially if larger vehicles are beside you.

Van driver?
Reversing to the right side allows you to look out of the driver side window into the area which you are heading rather than reversing unsighted to the left.

E - Exercise caution 
from the start and you immediately reduce the risks associated with parking and reversing. Take your time before you park. Pause to consider how to simplify your manoeuvring rather than parking in the first available space.

V - Verify blind spots around you
All cars have blind spots and they differ from one make and model to another. Identify where the blind spots on your vehicle are located and then check them, whenever appropriate, when parking.

E - Ensure accessibility 
by parking your vehicle in the centre of a parking bay. By doing so, you ensure that your vehicle is accessible while also giving neighbouring cars plenty of space. This reduces the likelihood of either car getting scratched or scraped.

R - Remember: mirror, signal, manoeuvre 
It might be years since you passed your driving test but the message remains the same: use your mirrors before signalling and finally manoeuvring into the parking space. Watch out for other cars and pedestrians.

Mirrors allow drivers to see areas low down and close to the car that we can’t see over our shoulders. However, looking over both shoulders will allow us to see what isn’t visible in the mirrors. That is why learners are always taught 360-degree observation supplemented by mirrors rather than using mirrors alone.

If you take your time while manoeuvring your car into the parking bay it helps to ensure that you remain in full control throughout the process.

E - Evaluate the situation – It’s up to you to check that the parking bay can accommodate your car, to decide whether reversing is the safest option on that occasion and that it’s safe to manoeuvre your vehicle into place. Also it is important to assess the likelihood of your car being damaged while parked. Consider whether it is appropriate to park where there is a greater likelihood that your car will be hit such as on a corner, narrow driveway or section of road, or at the end of a row.

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