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May, 2015: Newly updated course

One Safety Tip Per Week

Insurance companies tell us that hitting fixed objects in parking lots or loading docks are the most frequent type of crash. Ironically, these crashes are almost worse for a fleet than a bigger crash because they don't meet the insurance deductible, so it's straight out of a fleet's profit.

So with that in mind, here's 52 tips for truck drivers to avoid parking lot crashes. Send 'em out once a week as a text message, through your in-cab device, or via email. Heck, just set them as your email's signature line to randomly rotate through. However you want to share them with your drivers, they'll be a quick reminder.

Please remember: an 8-word reminder is not "training." It's just a reminder. Training is PRO-TREAD's Avoiding Fixed Objects and Backing and Docking Lessons.

52 tips to reduce parking lot crashes

  1. When in doubt, get out and look.
  2. Keep your focus on your current task.
  3. Avoid backing if possible.
  4. Call ahead and ask for truck-specific directions.
  5. If its raining, snowing, or very hot, power lines can sag down into your path.
  6. Avoid blindside backing.
  7. If new snow has fallen, tree branches may sag into your path.
  8. Take your time: a crash will undo all your haste.
  9. Use a spotter for backing if possible.
  10. Use your hazards/flashers when you get out and look.
  11. Getting out and looking is a sign you're smart, not inexperienced.
  12. Battery-powered flashers are great markers when backing into a dark or shaded dock.
  13. A backing camera is no excuse to avoid getting out and looking.
  14. Don't run your wheels over any ground you haven't first seen with your eyes.
  15. 2/3 of all collisions happen in parking lots.
  16. Even a slow moving truck does a lot of damage to anything it hits.
  17. Chock your wheels if parking on an incline.
  18. Never move your vehicle with the cargo doors open.
  19. Always put on your seat belt.
  20. Idling speed is plenty fast for backing.
  21. Try to time deliveries during non-peak traffic times.
  22. A right turn is always preferable to a left.
  23. Never move even an inch with your lift gate open.
  24. Most parking lot accidents happen on the way out.
  25. Plan your exit route before you put it in drive.
  26. If you can't see your spotter, stop until they move to where you can.
  27. Agree on hand signals with your spotter before you start backing.
  28. Even with a spotter, the driver is responsible for any backing crash.
  29. 99% of backing crashes will be determined as "preventable."
  30. Hitting a fixed or stationary object will always be determined as preventable.
  31. Backing "radar" systems may miss poles and people. Get out and look.
  32. Mirror vibration makes it hard to see during backing. Go slow.
  33. Keep your head on a swivel.
  34. If possible, avoid fueling stations during busy periods (beginning and end of the day).
  35. Do a quick walk around inspection of your truck before you leave.
  36. Double-check your exit route: have cars parked in new spots?
  37. Double-check your exit route: has a dumpster moved?
  38. Set out cones to "protect" your exit route if a wide turn is needed.
  39. Overtime, rush fees, route disruptions, and damaged client relations are hidden costs of "small" collisions.
  40. Time yourself when you get out and look. It's probably less than 30 seconds.
  41. Time is money, but so are body shop bills.
  42. Practice with a new spotter if possible.
  43. Low hanging signs and awnings create make a high number of crashes.
  44. Don't over look overhead clearance.
  45. Watch for taillights and reverse lights when going through a parking lot.
  46. Squeegee mirrors and windows on wet days.
  47. Keep items off your dash to avoid blocking the defroster vents.
  48. Tap the horn twice before backing.
  49. Use three points of contact when entering and exiting the truck.
  50. You're the pro driver. Don't let passenger cars make you mad.
  51. Let a ringing cellphone go to voicemail.
  52. If you're not loading or unloading, use the downtime for paperwork, training, or planning your next route.

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