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Reversing Techniques

Written 2014

At XDrive we run a number of courses for companies and corporations, specifically targeting small ‘parking related’ incidents and ‘reversing’ incidents. (For ease of reference, we will refer to these as ‘vehicle-manoeuvring incidents’.) These incidents, although often minor, have an impact when they are taken as a cumulative total. Many companies have investigated these incidents in an effort to curb the associated costs and have also investigated various ‘add-ons’ relating to vehicle accessories. In our case, we specifically target driver training and education to combat these incidents. Relying solely on items such as reversing cameras or proximity sensors often simply allows the driver to transfer the blame to something else, without curbing the problem. The fundamentals of the issue relate to the fact that we, as drivers, spend very little time actually reversing a vehicle: less than one per cent of our driving time. We therefore treat it as a rarity and fail to practice or perform the task with any degree of skill. Reversing is also a task that, in most drivers’ cases, is performed at relatively low speeds, and we therefore do not see the danger in it.


Parking and reversing incidents account for the majority of minor damage claims, which in most instances go un-repaired until they accumulate over time to something worthwhile – this goes for minor scrapes and dents to broken lenses and cracked mirrors.

The majority of incidents are caused by lack of attention to the task at hand eg., not observing danger zones in the area you wish to park. This may also apply to a worker who has driven out to a site and forgotten a necessary tool back in the workshop. In their haste to return, they are involved in a ‘vehicle-manoeuvring incident’

In our Safer Driving course we encourage clients to think differently when they park, by giving thought to the way of driving off again. This allows drivers to think of alternatives, such as reverse parking or parking in an open area, as opposed to parking or manoeuvring in tight confines.
Common errors include such things as failing to remove sunglasses while manoeuvring a vehicle from a light to dark areas, for example when reversing or driving into an enclosed building.
Reversing cameras can distort ‘depth perception’ and drivers find it difficult to judge distance alone when relying on reversing cameras. Some cameras have their own LED lights for reversing at night or into dark or poorly lit areas, while other cameras rely on the light being emitted by the reversing lights of the vehicle they are fitted to. Reversing cameras could lead to the driver adopting a false sense of security, with regards to obscured or constricted vision, and should not be relied on as a sole means of assessing the areas behind vehicles for manoeuvring purposes. In some instances they have a limited field of view and do not necessarily detect objects to the extreme sides of vehicles or below the field of vision of the camera.
Some cameras are also prone to becoming dirty as they are fitted in the ‘turbulent air’ directly behind the vehicle, which can lead to the lens becoming dirty from road grime and dust or mud. Reversing proximity beepers are also prone to not detecting objects which are round, as the ‘sonar’ sound wave bounces off at acute angles and does not necessarily reflect back to the vehicle. Some proximity sensors are also fitted too far apart leaving areas which are not covered. However, the driver may not necessarily realise this and his reliance on the product is then compromised.        
XDrive can custom design a course to target specific aspects of driving which employers are concerned with. Contact XDrive for detailed information .

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