AARP Driving Resource Center

Four Steps to Back Up Your Vehicle Safely

Put it in reverse without fear of fender benders.

The risks are high for collisions when backing up your vehicle. If you need to back up, follow these steps.

See also: Steering Wheel Hand Position — What You Need to Know

  • Take special care to check all around your vehicle for people walking, other vehicles backing up behind you and any other obstructions. Check carefully for children and pets.
  • If you are backing straight or to the left, place your left hand on the top of the steering wheel, turn your body to the right, and look over your right shoulder out the rear window. If you’re backing to the left, place your right hand on the top of the steering wheel, turn your body to the left, and look over your left shoulder. Do not just depend on your mirrors.
  • If your vehicle is parked between two SUVs or trucks blocking your view, back up slowly, checking for pedestrians and other vehicles. Tapping your brake pedal as you back out may increase your ability to be seen by others.
  • Back up slowly and continually check the rear and sides.

Parking lots can be a particular challenge when backing up. Whenever possible, park away from entrances, exits and other cars.

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