Is The Person Backing Up Always At Fault?

Most people who have been driving for a while know exactly who would be at fault in an accident.

If someone brakechecks you, and there is a collision, we know it is not your fault, if someone runs a red light and slams into you, we know that it is not your fault. But what happens if someone is backing up, and there is a collision?

Is the person backing up always at fault

Accidents that occur when one or more vehicles are involved in a collision can often  be cut and dried situations when it comes to who is at fault. However, when a car is backing up, and there is a collision, there is much more of a gray area.

Many people assume that the person backing up is always at fault, which may not actually be the case.  

What is classed as backing up?

Backing up is another term for reversing out of a position or space. When someone backs up, they are actually backing out of a space. Accidents caused by backing up will most often happen in specific locations such as parking lots, or driveways. 

A back up collision happens when a driver is reversing their vehicle, and they may hit another car, a person, or object. 

How do you determine who is at fault when backing up?

With most accidents involving vehicles, there are a few ways that you can determine who is at fault in these situations.

For instance, who had the right of way is one of the easiest ways to determine who was at fault. A vehicle that is on the roadway will most likely have the right of way, and so the person backing up has a responsibility to check before reversing. 

However, you can also determine who is at fault in an accident by examining the location of the damage on the vehicles. You can check the impact and damage on a car to see who was driving forward, or if another driver was not paying attention to the road. 

In addition, you will have to think about whether any of the cars were on stop or not moving, as there may have been time to avoid the incident. Finally, there may have been witnesses at the incident, or statements taken which can help uncover who was at fault. 

Who is at fault in a parking lot accident when backing up?

Parking lots are the most common place for backing up accidents to occur. Finding out who is at fault is not always a black and white, clear situation. It will depend on the cars involved, and how the collision takes place. 

For instance, if a car backs up out of a parking space, and hits a parked car, then the driver of the backing up car will be at fault.

This is obvious as the other vehicle was parked, and there was not another driver involved. The parked car was not moving, and so the driver should have taken precautions. 

If the situation involves a car backing up and hitting a moving vehicle, then it is a little different. When backing up out of a parking space, the driver has an obligation to look for cars before reversing. If a car is backing up, then it is typically their fault if they hit another vehicle. 

This is because a moving vehicle in the parking lot will have the right of way in most cases. However, if one or more of the drivers were not paying attention or not driving without due care or attention, then they may have to accept some fault.

The most difficult situation to decipher is if two cars are backing up at the same time, and they hit each other. Neither car has the right of way, and both cars have an obligation to check and look around them before reversing. In this case, both drivers will probably be found responsible. 

Who is at fault when backing out of a driveway?

You will have to be very careful when backing up out of a driveway, as most of the time, the car reversing will be at fault. This is due to the fact that a car driving on the road has right of way, and the vehicle reversing has to be cautious before entering onto the road via backing up. 

That being said, the car driving on the road has an obligation to be wary and look whilst driving. For instance, the person driving is speeding, or does not take evasive action, they could not be doing everything possible to avoid an accident. Therefore, it is not always the person who is backing up who is at fault. 

How to ensure you will not be at fault backing up

To ensure that you are never at fault in a backing up collision, you will have to make sure that you are applying the correct, safe procedures of backing up out of a space. These are:

  • Signal right.
  • Pull about 2 feet away from the parked cars, and stop.
  • With your body in the center of the empty space, begin to pull out at a 45 degree angle.
  • Then, check your mirrors and over your left shoulder before pulling out.
  • Check your blind spot.
  • Reverse the car whilst looking over your right shoulder, and out the rear window until you are parallel and out of the space.

You should also remember that you are in full control of your vehicle whilst backing up. This means that you do not need to rush at all to get out of the space or your driveway. Therefore, with patience, you will have time to assess the road, traffic behind you and if there are any obstacles or risks of a collision. 

Whilst rear view cameras can be very helpful, it is vital that you do not rely on them completely to back up safely. You still have to actually turn your head and check all of your mirrors and blind spots before making any movements.

When you determine that it is safe, and begin backing up, try to go as slow as possible, so if any cars come out of nowhere, you will have time to brake and stop. It is always better to inch out slowly than to fly out of a space.