The Dangers Of Reversing Commercial Trucks: Why “Get Out And Look” Is Critical For Safety
If you worry there are things you may fail to see when you are backing up, be thankful you aren’t driving a large commercial motor vehicle. Backing up in a commercial truck is extremely dangerous. Large trucks are hard to maneuver, and it is challenging for truck drivers to see what is happening around their vehicles. Commercial trucks can cause catastrophic damage to pedestrians and other drivers even when backing up at a low speed.
The Commercial Drivers License (“CDL”) Manual tells drivers to “avoid backing whenever you can.” It even urges drivers to park in such a way so that they will be able to exit by pulling forward.
However, there are times when truck drivers must back up. Many trucks have a sticker on their dashboard to remind drivers of a critical rule for that circumstance: G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look).
Get Out And Look is just what it sounds like. Before backing up, a truck driver should get out of the truck and look where he or she plans to back up.
The CDL Manual stresses this as well. It tells drivers: “Look at your line of travel before you begin. Get out and walk around the vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and overhead, in and near the path your vehicle will take.”
In the alternative, the CDL Manual instructs drivers to use a helper to assist in backing up: “Use a helper when you can. There are blind spots you can’t see. That’s why a helper is important. The helper should stand near the back of your vehicle where you can see them. Before you begin backing, work out a set of hand signals that you both understand. Agree on a signal for ‘stop.’”