Backing Up Your Vehicle 101
Backing up your vehicle can be quite simple, once you get the technique down pat, like anything else. It should be a lot easier than going forward. There is a huge difference in speed, than maneuvering the vehicle forward. Keep in mind. The faster your speed is, the faster you have to process information. That said. Driving backwards should be a lot easier than going forward, because you should be going a lot slower. Now if you’re speeding going backwards, the opposite is true. Right?
When backing up a vehicle, always look in the direction that you are backing. When your maneuvering the vehicle to the left, look left. When you’re maneuvering the vehicle to the right, look right. When you’re driving straight back always look over you’re right shoulder. Always glance over the opposite shoulder first, before you proceed to back up. So if you’re backing and looking right, you should be glancing left first, before you start to roll backwards. Backing to the left, glance over right shoulder first. Always recheck you’re blind spot again, if you take more time, before you roll back.
There are a few things that you have to do first, depending on the size of the vehicle. You may have to honk your horn to worn pedestrians and other vehicles. One important thing you must do is looking around before you back up. The other important thing you must do is look where your backing at all times. The only reason to glance forward is to make sure your front end clears the vehicle, hazard, or pedestrian beside your car if you intend on turning the vehicle. Did you notice I used the word glance?
It’s pretty easy. Driving forward, you look forward, driving backwards; you look backwards until your vehicle comes to a complete stop. Everything else is just a glance. When you must back up, only go back far enough necessary to drive forward, especially if you’re view is limited. Putting it in simpler terms. If you’re vehicle has enough clearance to move forward. Stop and proceed forward. Do not guess. Move back more if your not sure. When you’re not sure which way your vehicle wheels are turned. With your foot on the brake pedal and the gearshift in drive or reverse, depending on direction, release up on the brake pedal slowly and look and see which direction your vehicle is heading, and correct accordingly.
Let’s take a quick lesson on backing up. May I suggest you find a vacant parking lot like a mall or a school when it is closed? Make sure you get out of the car and look around for kids playing first. (Do not attempt this maneuver without an experienced driver sitting next to you or kids playing in the area.)
With your foot covering the brake, slowly release the brake until the vehicle starts rolling. Keep your foot above the brake only to move it to the accelerator to get the vehicle in motion moving your foot back over the brake to keep the car from getting out of control. It’s called covering the brake. Looking in the direction you want to go, place your hand at the twelve o’clock position, practice turning the vehicle from side to side bringing it back to straight position and holding it straight for awhile. Stop after approximately the length of a football field and do the same thing going forward. The reason I would like you to do the same exercise going forward is that soon you will realize turning the wheel going forward is the same as turning the wheel going backwards. Once you turn the wheel right or left. Bringing the vehicle back to straight position will require you to straighten the wheel once the vehicle is straight again.
Repeat the maneuver going backwards until you arrive at the approximate point that you started. Also practice turning the vehicle on a bigger degree of a turn when you get a little more confident. Be certain that you are covering the brake pedal at all times. Slowly backing up to your ability only. Also practice backing up between the lines of parking stalls. Do this a few times or a couple of times a week and you will master the art of backing up safely.
Your knowledge on backing up is equally as important as driving forward. Just remember that doing it safely is the most important part of backing up. In other words, looking around before rolling back and looking where you’re backing. Do not roll back looking forward. Do you look back when you are driving forward? .
Lets talk about the blind spot. Position your hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and look straight ahead. You should be able to see out your back window and your side mirrors. Those mirrors are good for viewing traffic coming up behind you. Your blind spot is situated over your shoulders on the backside of your passengers back windows. By glancing in that direction, you will be able to see a vehicle coming along side of you, that you cannot see with your mirrors. Including traffic or pedestrians approaching from the opposite side of the roadway, or parking lots and intersections.
When you want a better understanding of the blind spot. Have a friend or family member stand directly along side the back corner of you’re vehicle, and have them side-step away from your vehicle, and looking in you’re side and rear view mirror until they are not visible, then glance over you’re shoulder. That would be you’re blind spot.
Driving safely is almost impossible without the understanding of your blind spot. All it takes is a quick glance, and if you think you saw something, glance again, before you turn the vehicle wheel, and or move in that direction.
Do not turn the wheel at the same time your checking. It defeats the purpose of checking to see if it’s safe. I like to use the word glance, especially if you’re moving the vehicle. When you’re not moving forward or backwards, take a good look around before you roll. It is important to look in the direction you’re going.