I also recommend practicing with your spotter. Specifically, practice backing up your rig from different angles into open parking spaces. You can use cones to represent trees.
This is also an excellent opportunity to practice the GOAL method: Get Out And Look. This means the driver and spotter should always “get out and look” before backing into an area with trees or other potential hazards.
Above: Cinda showing the distance Gary has to back up
It’s also a good idea to work out your spotter’s hand signals and rehearse them ahead of time. In addition to hand signals, it’s important for spotters to show the amount of space between the rig and an object by showing that amount of space with their hands. It’s very difficult for a driver to have depth perception when backing up a rig.
Above: Cinda and Gary’s signal for stop
The spotter also needs to make sure they are seen by the driver at all times. When backing up the rig, the spotter actually has more responsibility and control than the driver.
Above: Gary and Cinda’s rig in a campsite at Tall Pines Harbor Campground
And don’t forget to look up for any tree limbs or other potential issues.
Post Accident Action Plan
It’s often the second and third impact that hurts and kills. After the initial impact, you could be thrown into another vehicle or fixed object, such as the dashboard, steering wheel, or unsecured stuff inside a truck cab can be thrown aggressively. That can, and will, injure you quickly. In the moments after an accident, be acutely aware of other traffic.
Once the accident scene is secured, call the police by dialing 911 and report the accident, if necessary. If someone is injured, call 911 immediately.
If the accident scene is safe to walk around, take pictures of the accident scene. These pictures should include damage to vehicles and property and road conditions including skid marks, debris, the position of involved vehicles, identifiable location signs, intersections, and landmarks. Never put yourself at risk to take a photo, and always remember, never turn your back to traffic. Let me repeat that point; never turn your back on traffic.
Write down the names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses of everyone involved in the accident. Document the year, make, and model of the vehicles involved. Gather their insurance company name, policy numbers, and phone numbers and take clear photographs of the insurance cards and license plates.
It’s also good practice to document the police department, police report number, police phone number, officer names, and badge numbers. Also request a copy of the police accident report.
If a potential witness is not coming forward with a statement, photograph their license plate. With that information, you will be able to contact them later, if needed.