Snowplow drivers spend a considerable amount of time backing up, often in trucks whose fields of vision are compromised by V-box spreaders or liquids tanks mounted in the back. It is imperative that precautions be taken to ensure the safety of pedestrians who may be in the area but also colleagues working in the field.
After May 2018, all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds will be required to have rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver to detect areas behind the vehicle. Many companies with older vehicles that may not have this technology purchase aftermarket backup cameras.
DICAN Inc., a maker of backup cameras offers these tips to consider when purchasing aftermarket cameras:
- Choose a camera that has a clear, sharp picture and that you can distinguish between items behind the car. If you can't tell the difference between a tree and a person, it's a sign the camera probably isn't worth its added cost.
- Test the camera at night. While some cameras can be great during the day, they may have difficulty showing images when it's dark.
- Choose a camera system that offers a large screen. This maximizes the camera's benefits and ensures you'll get your money's worth.
- Ensure they are installed properly and in the correct position. Incorrect mounting can cause distorted vision.
Backup cameras are only one piece of a safety net for snowplow drivers but shouldn’t be relied on solely as your eyes in the back of the truck. Following are safety tips to consider when backing up:
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- Before starting operations, do a circle check for safety to ensure no unseen obstacles are behind the truck.
- Use your properly adjusted mirrors for maximum visibility. Get to know your vehicle’s blind spots.
- If possible, utilize a spotter on the ground to ensure safer conditions.
- Whenever possible, plan your plowing routes to avoid backing whenever possible.
- Don’t forget your surroundings – look up and down to make sure the path is clear of obstacles, including awnings, power lines, etc.