Walk Around Checks : The Circle of Safety
As a driver, you are legally responsible to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and up to MOT standard at all times. Whilst walk around checks are not a legal requirement, they provide an excellent method for you to check your vehicle is safe before driving away and are an integral part of training for heavy vehicle drivers.
A high percentage of all collisions involve backing into or hitting stationary objects. Leaving parking positions and whilst travelling at relatively slow speeds in car parks and away from the roadside account for most of these crashes.
It is always good practice to reverse into parking positions unless there is a good reason not to, such as heavy items to remove or place in the boot, or if you park in reverse it would be difficult to access the rear of the vehicle or rear doors that cannot be opened if you have to reverse close to a wall or other obstruction. If you are able to reverse in (or look for a number of empty parking bays and drive through the first one so you park facing the direction you want to leave in the second one), you will be able to drive forwards away from the parking position which gives better visibility and is much safer than having to reverse out!
The check we have put together is a very basic visual check; it should take no longer than twenty seconds to complete depending on what type of vehicle you drive and can be done as you approach your vehicle, but has the potential to save damage and injury. It should be used every time before driving away, especially if you are in a car park or on a driveway. This check does not replace weekly or monthly checks which are more details.
IMPORTANT: If you have to walk into traffic flow in order to carry out the check then do not put your own safety at risk.