courtesy of Discount Tire & Automotive
When you get in your vehicle, before you even put it in reverse, keep this in mind: Approximately 50 kids per week are backed over by a moving vehicle, according to KidsAndCars.org, a non-profit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in and around motor vehicles. Children under age 5 are at the highest risk for backover injury or death. Over 60 percent of these accidents involve a truck or SUV.
How can you prevent a backover accident? By creating driving habits that incorporate the safety measures outlined below. When something becomes a habit, it becomes second nature, and this is a habit that could save a child’s life.
- Make an announcement: When you are getting ready to go, take a second to verbally warn those around you, especially other adults and playing children. The more people keeping watch, the better.
- Be constantly on the lookout: Whether in a parking lot, a neighbor’s house, or at home, take the time to walk around your vehicle. This only takes a minute, but can save a lifetime of pain. Take a quick glance underneath the vehicle, too. If there are children outside and nearby, take a headcount to make sure you are totally aware of where each child is located before you back out.
- Listen: Don’t have noisy distractions inside the vehicle when you are preparing to pull out: Roll down the windows, shut off the radio, and hang up the phone. Take every step needed to ensure you can hear everything going on near and around your vehicle. You might hear something or someone before you see them.
- Objects in mirrors may be closer than they appear: Never rely only on your side and rearview mirrors; even with proper adjustments, blind spots are prevalent. Before putting your car in reverse, check your three mirrors, and then, with your foot on the brake, get a clear view out the back window before proceeding.
- Slow and steady wins the race: You should never move quickly when reversing. There is no need to accelerate fast; a small amount of gas is all that is needed to get your vehicle backed out. Safety should never be compromised because you are in a hurry.
- Other safety tips: Teach your children what is safe by letting them know it is never OK to play on, in, or around cars. Encourage them to always look, listen, and be aware of their surroundings. Refresh these lessons often. When possible make driveways a no-play zone or, if that is not possible, create barriers to prevent drivers from pulling into your driveway when kids are present. Always hold small children when cars are in motion and make sure children are supervised at all times. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to create the same safety habits. Together, we can end backover tragedies.