Drivers Awareness Bulletin
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April 1, 2023
BACKING UP SAFELY
Backing up safely in a vehicle is an important skill for all drivers to master. Not only does it help to prevent accidents, but it also allows for more efficient maneuvering in tight spaces. There are several key steps to take in order to back up safely, including:
- Checking your surroundings: Before you begin to back up, it's important to check your mirrors and perform a quick 360-degree check to ensure that there are no pedestrians, bicycles, or other vehicles in the immediate vicinity. This is especially important in busy urban areas or in parking lots where visibility may be limited.
- Activating your turn signal: If you are backing up in a parking lot or other area where other drivers may be present, it's important to activate your turn signal to indicate that you are reversing. This will alert other drivers to your intentions and can help to prevent collisions.
- Moving slowly: When backing up, it's important to move slowly and cautiously. This will give you more time to react to any obstacles or hazards that may appear in your path. It's also a good idea to keep one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gearshift in case you need to quickly stop or change direction.
- Using your rear-view camera: Many modern vehicles are equipped with a rear-view camera that can provide a clear view of what is behind the vehicle while reversing. This can be especially helpful in tight parking spaces or when visibility is limited.
- Paying attention to obstacles and pedestrians: When reversing, it's important to pay attention to any obstacles or pedestrians in your path. This includes anything from shopping carts and bicycles to children or animals. It's also important to be mindful of any vehicles or pedestrians that may be moving behind you, as they could cross into your path unexpectedly.
- Keeping your windows clean: ensure your windows are clean, this will help you see the obstacle behind you clearly.
- Practice: Backing up can be a challenging task, especially for new drivers. It's important to practice in a safe and controlled environment, such as an empty parking lot, until you feel comfortable and confident in your ability to reverse safely.
- Using Backup Sensors: Many modern vehicles come equipped with backup sensors that can alert the driver of any obstacles or pedestrians in the way while reversing. They can be a great aid in backing up safely and should be used when available.
- Using Backup Camera: Some vehicles come equipped with a backup camera, which can provide a wide-angle view of the area behind the vehicle, making it easier for the driver to see any obstacles or pedestrians in the way.
- Using Backup Alarms: Some vehicles are also equipped with backup alarms that sound when the vehicle is in reverse gear. This can alert pedestrians and other drivers of your presence and help prevent accidents.
By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of accidents and make backing up a safer and more efficient task. Remember to always pay attention to your surroundings, move slowly, and use your rearview camera and sensors if available. Additionally, practice regularly to improve your reversing skills and ensure your safety on the road.
Article Submitted by MSgt Andrew Hansen, Michigan Wing Director of Transportation
MSgt Hansen is a Retired Military Police Officer and Joined Civil Air Patrol July 2016
He has been serving as the Wing Transportation Director for 5 years.
January 1, 2023
Why does Civil Air Patrol have so much emphasis on tire safety, especially tire pressure. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) studies show that a tire 25% below the vehicle manufactures recommended tire pressure is three times as likely to be involved in an accident while a tire 25% above the recommended tire pressure is twice as likely to be involved in an accident (July 4, 2016).
How many accidents are we talking about? The NHTSA data found that there are nearly 11,000 tire related motor vehicle accidents per year. Many of these accidents were the result of low tire pressure. Low tire pressure is one of the leading causes of tire failure in the country and results in thousands of injuries and an estimated 41 deaths every year (Feb 22, 2022). Weather is the next leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Combined, these two factors can be deadly.
Having under inflated tires can make your vehicle more difficult to steer, more difficult to stop on a wet or icy roads, and can make it easier to lose control of the vehicle. Bottom line, a vehicle without appropriate tire pressure is more accident prone.
Low tire pressure also contributes to excessive tire wear. The under inflated tire does not ride on the road properly, shortens the life span of the tire, and reduces fuel efficiency.
What is the correct tire pressure for your vehicle? Our fleet contains many different types of vehicles; large vans, small vans, SUV’s , and pick-up trucks. CAPR 77-1, 3-1a5 states that the vehicle manufactures recommended tire pressure determines the correct tire pressure for each vehicle. This normally can be found on the sticker of the driver side door post. Unit Transportation Officers should stencil this tire pressure on the wheel well above each tire (CAPR77-1 2-1b). Remember tire pressure may be different for front and back tires.
We have told you WHY we emphasize vehicle tire pressure. Next, is HOW do vehicle drivers ensure they are driving vehicles with the correct tire pressure? First, we have to ensure that each vehicle has a tire gage. CAPR 77-1, 2-1 answers this question “Prior to the first use of the day, vehicle operators will perform a safety check using CAPF 73…”. This safety check includes a visual inspection of each tire (tread wear, damage, age of tire) and checking the tire pressure of each tire. If the tire pressure is low or high, it needs to be corrected before using the vehicle for a mission or activity. The first time the vehicle is used during the month, after checking the tire pressure, the vehicle diver needs to “sign and date” the CAPF 73 indicating tire pressure was checked.
Additional information can be found in CAPR 77-1
TIRE SAFETY “EVERY THING RIDES ON IT”
Article Submitted by LtCol Robert Taylor, Illinois Wing Director of Logistics/Transportation.
LtCol Taylor has been a CAP member for 38 years, is Master Rated In Safety and has been the NESA Mission Safety Officer for over twelve years.
Work-Related Roadway Crashes
DHHS (NIOSH) PUBLICATION NUMBER 2004-136
Roadway crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the U.S.