Fleet News

How to cut reversing risk

Approximately 25% of all reported collisions arise from vehicles reversing, according to insurance claims data and research by the University of Huddersfield. Among some vehicle types, it is many more.

Many such collisions never even make it into an organisation’s insurance records, being dealt with instead as routine vehicle maintenance costs. For this reason, companies are often ignorant of the reversing risk until someone has been killed or seriously injured.

Applying a range of appropriate management (e.g. analysis and review), site (e.g. risk assessment), driver (e.g. assessment/training) and vehicle (e.g. reversing cameras and alarms) interventions can help organisations to be more proactive and cut their costs and risks.

The starting point is to understand the extent of the risk.

Insurance claims data gives a good indication of the scale of the problem. Data shows:

  • 15% of van claims involved reversing/backing
  • 19% of HGV claims involved reversing/backing
  • 10% of company car claims involved reversing/backing

After years of reviewing fleet collision data, Andy Cuerden, from Interactive Driving Systems, says: “Because of the relatively low impact speed, many people don’t regard reversing as a significant hazard. However, reversing/backing and slow speed manoeuvring incidents make up a large proportion of fleet collision costs.”

A ‘gap analysis’ will help you address the reversing issue – a sample is available on the Fleet News website at www.fleetnews.co.uk/gap-analysis.

The higher your score, the safer the systems of work you have in place for vehicle reversing. It can be applied on an annual basis to review progress, covering:

  •  Operational analysis and statistics
  •  Site procedures and operations
  •  Vehicles
  •  People


All drivers should be encouraged to adopt the following advice for safe reversing/backing:

  • Walk around the vehicle and look for obstacles or hazards before moving.
  • Always beware of pedestrians, but especially children. They are unpredictable!
  • Reverse slowly – turn your head, use your mirrors and check both sides.
  • Avoid reversing over a long distance.
  • Look behind before reversing – not as you take off.
  • When reversing and turning, remember to watch the front of your car as well.
  • If towing a trailer, practice reversing with the trailer in a safe location.
  • Where possible, reverse or ‘pull through’ into parking spaces rather than out of them.

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