It is frightening to watch a driver back up onto the path of a child at play. Many of these car accidents occur right in home driveways, injuring and killing young children. In fact, at least 50 children are killed by backover accidents each week, according to KidsandCars.org. More than 70 percent of backover accidents involve young children and a parent or a relative.
As a Massachusetts driver, you can work to prevent backover accidents through a combination of steps. You can use a back-up camera. Stay aware of your blind zone. Near children, the most effective prevention may be getting out and walking around your vehicle. Make sure you have a clear path of travel and if you don’t, practice a little patience for safety. Stay where you are for an extra few minutes until the children have gone back inside.
As traumatic as backover accidents are, many injuries are preventable if drivers focus more and make use of technology and if families communicate and plan. Involve friends and family who visit and park at your home in this conversation. Before they arrive, suggest a safe parking space.
Comings and Goings. Start by keeping your family together when someone arrives and leaves. Keep children inside and let them wave to the driver from the window. If children are outside, an adult should be outside supervising them. Gather them together on the front steps or a safe place. Hold on basketball, bikes or riding toys until the person leaves. It’s hard for a young child to resist chasing a ball.
Walk Around the Vehicle. Even if drivers have a back-up camera, walk around your vehicle. Check underneath your vehicle and observe if a child or anyone is nearby or may move into your path of travel (such as a child riding a bike or someone pushing a shopping cart).
Park Consistently. As a parent, park your vehicle in the same place in your driveway or garage each day. Be consistent with your approach. For instance, if you pull into your driveway – or back into your driveway – try to do the same thing each time. Make sure your children are in a safe place when you do this. For instance, in the backseat of your car as you back into your driveway or inside your home.
Large Vehicles. Trucks, SUVs, RVs and vans are more likely to cause backover crashes, according to NHTSA. The taller the vehicle, the greater the driver’s blind zone. Delivery trucks also fall into this category. What families can do is encourage children to play in the backyard some or most of the time. You can also place cones or some other type of barrier in the driveway to encourage large vehicles to park on the side of the road.
Blind Zone. The blind zone is the area behind a vehicle which a driver can’t see. Whatever vehicle you drive, learn about your blind zone. Consumer Reports found small sedans usually have a 12 foot blind zone for the average driver. Midsized SUVs have an 18-foot blind zone, while large SUVs have 19 feet. Pick-up trucks have the largest blind zone among the passenger vehicles – 24 feet. Parents should be aware of blind zones as well.
Back-up Cameras. As of May 2018, all new passenger cars, trucks, vans and other vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds have to be outfitted with rearview monitoring technology, according to Edmunds.com. If you are driving an older vehicle, you can install a back-up camera on your own – and it is an important tool which can save lives. Read “How to Install a Rearview Camera in an Older Car,” by Consumer Reports.
Bicycles and Pedestrians. Backover accidents can also injure adults, including cyclists and pedestrians. Look all around your vehicle before you pull out of a parking space. Be aware of different types of activities in downtown and other business areas. When possible, avoid parking near crosswalks.
Parking Lot Crashes. In parking lots, pull into parking spaces whenever possible. Keep watch of pedestrians and shoppers. Depart the parking space safely. Set aside cell phones and do not drive when you are overfatigued.
Another note is right now, many Massachusetts grocery stores, retailers and restaurants are offering curbside pick-up services. While convenient, remember not every business is experienced with curbside pick-up. Drive into parking lots slowly and watch for curbside pick-up signs. If there are no signs, find a parking space and call the store.
Boston Car Accident Lawyers – Free Legal Consultation
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston car accident attorneys specialize in representing victims of car accidents and pedestrian accidents. We represent those injured across Massachusetts, from Boston and Cambridge to the North Shore to Quincy and the South Shore and Cape Cod.
For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.