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Show full transcript for Car Backing / Reversing video

This lesson deals with car backing emergencies and how you can prevent them.

You're probably well aware of the extreme number of lives lost each year on U.S. roads and highways. But how many of you give consideration to lives lost by another type of traffic accident – those involving vehicles backing up?

A number of lives are lost each year from slow-backing accidents, and many of these occur at home in the driveway. The problem is that, even when you're alert and paying attention while backing up, children can still dart behind your vehicle and get quickly into a blind spot in the time it takes to glance at the rearview mirror.

Warning: When a small child is behind a vehicle, the driver often cannot see the child in any of the mirrors, creating a dangerous blind spot for the child. Which is why adopting a safe routine for backing up is so important.

Create a Safe Backing Routine

It's important to have a policy or protocol in place that you can execute each time before you even put the car in reverse to ensure your children are safe before backing out.

You can put together a safe backing routine a number of ways, but one that works well is to establish a visible gathering place for all the kids. The gathering place should be in a location you can see them and in front of the vehicle.

Do a head count. When all kids are accounted for, put the vehicle in reverse and back out slowly. Be sure to continue to monitor the children for any movement, but also in a way that allows you to scan mirrors for traffic and other people.

Backing up at a minimal speed is important, as it may be necessary to suddenly stop in case there's an emergency.

Pro Tip #1: A car moving slowly is a car with the ability to stop quickly. (Not really Pro Tip material, but better than leaving you Pro Tipless this lesson.)

Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And that any moments of inconvenience are well worth the bit of extra effort.

A Word About Lightning

Yes, lightning! While it has absolutely nothing to do with car backing emergencies, it does deserve special recognition, as an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure when it comes to lightning strikes.

In the U.S., there are more deaths each year due to lightning strikes (100) than due to any other weather-related hazard or event, including blizzards, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

During a lightning strike, the lightning travels back and forth between the ground and the cloud many times during that one visible flash. How's that, you ask? Well, lightning travels at a swift 300 miles per second.

The list of possible effects on someone who has been struck by lightning include:

  • Thrown through the air
  • Clothes burned off
  • Heart stops beating
  • Neurological damage
  • Fractures
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of sight

A single lightning strike can wreak havoc on the human body, as it can deliver up to 50 million volts of electricity, or enough to light 13,000 homes.

Precautions You Can Take to Avoid Being Struck by Lightning

During storms it pays to use common sense and to respect the power of nature. Use the following precautions to stay safe in inclement weather.

  • Postpone activities promptly and remember that thunder and lightning can strike without rain.
  • Go inside a completely enclosed building. If you cannot find one, a cave is a good option, but move as far back as possible from the cave entrance.
  • Watch cloud patterns and conditions for signs of an approaching storm.
  • Designate safe locations and use them at the first sound of thunder. And remember, every five seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder equals one mile of distance.
  • Use the 30-30 rule. When you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within six miles. Seek shelter immediately. The threat of lightning continues for a much longer period than most people realize. So, wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving the shelter.
  • If inside during a storm, keep away from windows. Injuries may occur from flying debris or glass if a window breaks.
  • Stay away from plumbing, electrical equipment, and wiring during a thunderstorm. Water and metal are both excellent conductors of electricity.
  • Do not use a corded telephone or radio transmitter except for emergencies.

Bonus Precaution: If the movie Caddyshack taught us anything, it's the dangers of golfing during a thunderstorm. Hit the clubhouse for an hour or three, or postpone entirely.