Backing in Parking Lots

Backup LightsWhose fault is it if I back out of a parking space and hit someone driving by?

The Motor Vehicle Act places the responsibility squarely on the driver who is backing up. It says that a driver must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

A check of ICBC's web site finds a page where liability for a crash caused by a driver backing up is discussed. The page says that the courts generally rule that a reversing vehicle is 100 per cent at fault for any resulting accident. ICBC will assess your fault based on court decisions, so expect to be at fault both from the point of view of a traffic ticket and insurance liability.

Here are a number of suggestions to help you avoid problems:

  • Back into the parking space. The vehicles around it are not moving.
  • Choose a parking space that you can drive through and face outward on the other side.
  • Have a passenger guide you and stop traffic.
  • Circle check your vehicle before entering and scan constantly while backing.
  • Back up slowly.
  • Never back up further than absolutely necessary.
  • Turn toward the driver's side if possible for better visibility.
  • Install a backup alarm to warn others.

Many luxury vehicles have a backup warning system as optional equipment. The system warns a driver of objects it senses behind the vehicle when they are near enough to be a hazard. You may choose to install an aftermarket kit if it was not available as a factory accessory for your vehicle.

References:

Caution in Backing Vehicle - Section 193 MVA

Learn to Drive Smart - Pages 61 & 62

 

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