All the following are ways you can check for hazards before reversing. What's the best way, though? All the following are ways you can check for hazards before reversing. What's the best way, though?

  • A. Check your wing mirrors and rear-view mirror

  • B. Look over your shoulder

  • C. Get out and walk around the vehicle

  • D. Be sure any reversing sensors or cameras are activated (if your vehicle has them)

    The correct answer is C
    The best way is to walk around the vehicle before reversing, but you could use all of these. At minimum you will check your mirrors and look over your shoulder. It's not compulsory to get out of your car, or have reversing sensors/camera installed

Checking for hazards before reversing

Setting your mirrors

Your wing mirrors should be set so that you can only just see the side of your vehicle in them, and you can see back up the road as far as possible. Your rear-view mirror should be set so that the rear window fills it. If your mirrors are set like this then you minimise your blind spots. See here for a pictorial guide to setting them.

Checking your blind spots

You have a blind spot over both your left and right shoulder. You only have around 200 degrees horizontal vision without moving your head. There's more information about blind spots when you are driving on this page.

Reversing sensors

Reversing sensors are sensors placed in the rear bumper that detect when you are getting close to objects. While they can sometimes miss very narrow objects like a metal pole, they are good at detecting larger objects. Depending on how sensitive they are, they may have trouble with kerbs that aren't very high but are high enough to dislodge your exhaust. 

Reversing cameras

If you have a large SUV, your rearward visibility close to the back of the vehicle will be extremely limited. If your car didn't come with a reversing camera you can install one yourself - check out the video below for an example with a big SUV. 

Additionally, modern safety standards in cars have lead to the rear pillars being much thicker and the rear window being smaller than they used to be, which reduces visibility. The nose-forward stance of cars also means that vehicle designers want the boot lid, or the rear window to end higher up.

Driveway accidents in New Zealand

A UNICEF report in 2007 found that New Zealand was the worst of the OECD countries, behind the USA, in protecting children from accidental and unintentional injuries.

Every year there are around six children (usually toddlers who are mobile but unaware of traffic movements, and small, therefore invisible to drivers) who are killed in driveway accidents each year. Around 25 children are injured, too.

You can read more about reversing cameras here.

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