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Back up cautiously

A 14-month old child was run over and killed when someone backed up a vehicle at a family gathering recently. This happens too often. Very, very sad.

I worked for Bell Telephone, and as part of their company driver's safety education, we were required when getting into a vehicle to always approach it by walking around the back to look for children, bicycles, toys, etc. I don't remember what they called the procedure; I still do it, and in my mind I refer to it as "the circle tour.” It's become a habit, like using a seat belt, and when I forget to do it I feel uncomfortable.

I've never come close to running over a child, but I have saved a few toys. Children will play behind a car, then leave their toys there when they wander off.

Telephone and other service vehicles are magnets for young children, who are curious to see what's going on. For this reason, Bell also told employees to back into their spot when they arrive. At this point, no one has gathered around the van or truck yet. Then, when leaving, you're driving out forward, with less chance of not seeing someone and running over them. It's actually no more work, as you'll have to back up either when you arrive or when you leave.

Some of the new cars are being equipped with a rear view camera. The "circle tour" is a good idea even for people with rear view cameras, because cameras have large blind spots. For those reluctant to make the effort, I'd recommend buying a nice sympathy card when they're on sale, as one day it may be needed.