Driving guidance

Ambulance line up blue sky

The Trust has seen a significant rise in Trust vehicle reversing and low speed manoeuvring incidents.

Many, if not all, of these incidents could be avoided, if basic standard procedures were diligently put into practice - often negligence or apathy have a major influence.

A professional approach to the reversing/ manoeuvring task significantly reduces repair costs and vehicle downtime, as well as promoting safety and reducing the risk of personal injury. 

Below is guidance from the Trusts Driving Standards policy and procedure:

Reversing & Manoeuvring 

34.1     Double Resourced Vehicles

34.1.1 Prior to reversing, the driver must agree with a responsible assisting person (for example other ambulance staff, police officer, Highways Agency Traffic Officer, fire fighter) a safe path for the vehicle to take. They will then act as a guide and the driver must not reverse until they have checked that the area into which the vehicle is to travel is clear. The assistant must then stand in the position outside of the vehicle from which they can best be seen and heard by the driver. Verbal instructions alone are inadequate as they may be drowned out by the vehicle engine or other noise. For added safety, where possible assistants should wear their Hi Vis jacket/tabard whilst assisting the reversing or manoeuvring of the vehicle into position.

34.1.2 When the assistant’s view is restricted from the front or side of the vehicle they should take up a position towards the rear of the vehicle. Eye contact must be maintained between the driver and assistant. Where the attendant is working with the patient and other assistance cannot be achieved. Extreme care and cautions should be taken to complete the manoeuvring task.

34.1.3 A driver who does not obtain assistance when they could reasonably do so may be held responsible for any collision that occurs.

34.1.4 Where it is not possible to gain assistance, the principles shown under the single resourced vehicles section should be applied.

34.2   Single Resourced vehicles

34.2.1 The vehicle must not be reversed until the driver is satisfied that the way is clear and sufficient space exists for the manoeuvre to be completed safely. Even then particular care must be taken in case a person approaches unseen behind the vehicle. There should be no hesitation by the Trust driver in calling on other persons to assist with reversing manoeuvres. Where necessary, the Trust driver should get out of the vehicle and carry out an adequate assessment prior to the manoeuvre.

34.2.1 A driver who does not obtain assistance when they could reasonably do so may be held responsible for any collision that occurs.

34.3    Reversing during the hours of darkness

34.3.1 Additional caution must be exercised when reversing during the hours of darkness, and when visibility is reduced by weather and environmental factors.

34.3.2 All reversing manoeuvres must be carried out at low speed and where fitted the reversing alarm and/or cameras should be used. Staff must remain mindful that reversing aides have limitations and are not a substitute for the attendant / passenger alighting from the vehicle to assist. Discretion should be used during night periods with regard to the use of audible reversing and tail lift alarms.

All members of staff are expected to challenge unacceptable driving behaviour or standards observed in the overall interests of maintaining the highest professional standards and safety of all concerned.

Please contact your line manager, or the Driver Training Unit, if you have any queries or further advice is required. 

Published 24th May 2019

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