Written by Spencer McDonald


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Meeting Leader:

  • Prepare in advance to make this meeting effective.

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  • Print and read over this entire agenda (or download a PDF version here).
  • Think about how you want to lead the meeting.
  • Is there anything that is specific to your company or operation that you can include to personalize the information?
  • Review the video for this session.
  • Save the link to the video in your favourite folder on your browser for easy access.
  • Open and then minimize the viewer just before the meeting to make the video introduction smooth.

Backing Video

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Opening Statement:

truck-backed-into-pole1Backing incidents can account for up to half of all reportable fleet incidents. Virtually all backing collisions are preventable though. We drive in reverse only a fraction of the distance that we go in the forward direction yet it seems that backing in a serious problem in most fleets.

LEADER TIP: Check and note your organization’s percentage of incidents associated with backing.

The Questions for this Meeting:

Q: Why do you think there are so any backing incidents?backing-resized-6001

Answers may be:

Drivers are unskilled at backing.

  • Visibility is poor and it’s therefore easier to miss seeing a hazard.
  • Drivers in a hurry and fail to take the time to ensure no hazards.
  • Driver was backing in a situation where it could have been avoided.
  • Driver was going too fast to properly control vehicle.
  • Drivers fail to walk around the vehicle to check for hazards.
  • Other reasons?

Backing incidents at best are expensive but at worst can end up as fatalities. Not only on the job, but also at home! Across North America every year, over 250 children are killed in the driveways of their own homes in back-over incidents where a parent, relative or friend backs up while the child is behind the vehicle and can’t be seen. Even if you don’t have small children of your own, are there any kids in your neighbourhood?

bicycleQ: How many of us have jumped into the car or truck and just backed out of the driveway without looking behind first?

How many have run over a bicycle or child’s toy in the driveway?

Tailgate Tips:

7 tips to avoid backing incidents:

  1. Avoid Backing
    1. Find a spot to pull through to park.
    2. Back in when you have to stall park to allow your first move to be forward.
  2. Circle Check
    1. If your vehicle has been parked for a while, walk around before moving it to make sure that there are no hazards that you are unaware of.
  3. Look Back68dd6b3beb6d3d3bd04ccfa669e9644a1
    1. Either look out the centre of the rear window by turning in your seat or adjust and use your mirrors effectively.
  4. Back Slowly
    1. Keep your speed to a walking pace maximum to ensure that you can control the vehicle and react to problems if they arise.
  5. Use a Guide
    1. If there is a reliable person who can help guide you back, use them! Agree on signals before starting back and keep them in sight. Stop if you lose sight of your guide.
  6. Avoid Distractions
    1. As with any driving, avoid use of mobile devices, radios or other electronics when backing.
  7. Practise
    1. We back-up infrequently and many of us don’t have a high level of confidence. If you are unsure of your ability, take some time and practise. Set up some cones to back around or just find a quiet parking lot and practise backing into the empty stalls.

Introduce the Video:

Thinking Driver President, Spencer McDonald, discusses 7 tips to avoid backing incidents.

Practical Challenge:

circle check sticker final20copy1For the next week:


  • Walk around your vehicle before moving it from a parked position.
  • Limit your backing using good pre-planning and back into parking spots when necessary.
Spencer McDonald

President and founder of Thinking Driver,  Spencer McDonald, has over 25 years of experience in designing driver safety training curriculums and instructor development. He has driver safety qualifications in all vehicle types and expertise in psychology, education, training and motivation that uniquely qualifies him to develop the attitude-based Thinking Driver programs. 

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    AVOID INTERSECTION INCIDENTS Meeting Leader: Review the Video attachment that accompanies this session. If you want to use this video for your meeting, complete the order form below and fax/email to Thinking Driver.  A link will then be provided allowing you access to a non-watermarked video. Print and read over…
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The Thinking Driver Program was created by Spencer McDonald, driver psychology and counseling specialist to improve driver attitudes and reduce aggressive driving and fleet incident rates.

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