Hey look - a reversing vehicle - let's run behind it!

Okay so there I was, backing into my driveway the other day. Quiet sidestreet. Neighbour’s van was in the adjoining driveway. Tiny slope to get up into mine. Reversing up the slope - hit the gas a little - suddenly my friend (passenger) is going “WHOA!! WHOA!! WHOA!!” and I’m like, “Whaaa…?” slam on brakes because…

A herd of kids RAN OUT from BEHIND my neighbour’s van, across my driveway BEHIND ME and RIGHT INTO THE PATH OF MY MOVING VEHICLE. One kid got hit.

Needless to say I freaked right out, going “OMG I’m sorry I’m sorry” etc, I was shaking and nearly crying. Kid (about 10 years old, I’m guessing) gets up, says he’s fine, my neighbour saw it and gives the kids shit for running behind a moving vehicle (“Next time you might not be so lucky!!”), and the kids carry on their merry way while I’m sitting there having a panic attack.

Seriously, WTF? Who on earth anticipates kids to run behind you when you’re backing into your own driveway?! That’s why I always back in, so when I pull out I can be going front-ways and I can watch for kids on the sidewalk & road. I know I need to be aware of what’s going on around my vehicle at all times but this happened so freakin’ fast and unexpectedly. I’m still shaken up.

Please, tell me your similar scary stories so I’ll feel better.

Walking home from dinner yesterday, my husband and I saw a little kid on a bike shooting across a main street from a side street without so much as a glance for oncoming traffic. There was an SUV right there - the driver saw the kid and slowed down and honked (a bit of a miracle, considering the SUV driver was talking on their cellphone), but the kid just kept on going. I was sorely tempted to follow that kid to his home and have a conversation with his parents about teaching their kid how to bike safely; I don’t want to watch a kid get run over by an SUV (and I also don’t want to be the person trying to live with killing a stupid kid).

On a different note, I almost rolled back in my stickshift car into a pedestrian in a parking lot one day. As a standard driver, I never walk closely behind a car because cars with manual transmissions can roll a little; it occurred to me that most people don’t drive stick, so concerns about rollback don’t occur to them.

Yikes! You must have been shaking like a leaf.

Totally not your fault, and I’m so glad the kid didn’t get hurt. Let’s hope he learned something from it.

Remember the Apollo moon landings where they landed by backing down to the moon surface? Well, what they’ve covered up all these years is that on one of the moon landings a moon-child was squished.

Seriously, kids run out from nowhere without looking, so I always look where I am backing. Always.

Glad the kid did not get hurt.

Years ago I was backing out of my carport, which was part of a common carport parking area for multiplex housing, when I caught just a glimpse of movement in the side mirror. Keep in mind that I had to walk behind the car to get to the driver’s side and saw nobody in the area at all. I hit the brakes immediately, threw the car in park and jumped out. Standing just out of sight were the neighbor’s two brats, a boy and a girl. The boy was the oldest at about six and he and his little sister liked to play “chicken” with the cars backing out. They would wait until the cars started backward, then run across behind them. The girl was four years old.

I was absolutely furious and shaken at the same time. I grabbed both of them by the scruff of their shirts and marched them to their mother (a notoriously ineffective person), explaining to her the little suicidal game they were playing.

Every time after that, backing out would pop a sweat on my forehead, because I didn’t trust the woman to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Yeah, I think that your best bet is to just assume that kids are behind you. True, it’s not very logical, but neither are kids.

Much in the same way the you should always assume that a gun – even one that you took the bullets out of two minutes ago – is loaded.

… not exactly true. You always look when you’re backing up. You get flunked on the road test if you don’t, and rightly so.

Not only that, but in my experience as someone who jogs on public sidewalks, there are plenty of people who think nothing of backing out of their driveways without first checking whether or not there is someone on the sidewalk. They seem to think that, just because their driveway lets out onto the road, they have no obligation to yield to pedestrians.

Believe me I know, it’s worse because I’ve only had my license for a month so I’m still nervous and cautious. I looked behind me while reversing into the driveway, then forward to make sure I was straight, then the mirror while I touched the gas and THAT was when the little bastards darted out behind me, in that split-second instant between “okay it’s safe” in the mirror to turning my head to look out the back window. My foot was on the gas and it took a second for my brain to go WTF?! and make my foot hit the brake. My back driver’s side bumper nudged the kid.

I learned an important lesson about how NOWHERE is safe, not even the 10 feet or so of my very own driveway, and hopefully those kids learned a lesson about not running behind a moving (reversing!!) vehicle. :frowning:

In what circumstances would a stick shift roll back? I drive one, and this never happens - nor have I heard of it happening with anyone else I know who drives one. (Or is this a US/UK driving style thing?)

Whenever you’re on the slightest incline, a stick rolls back. At least mine did.

As for scary kids stories - my mom stopped at an intersection and a kid riding a bike on the sidewalk that crossed the intersection slammed right into her and flew over the hood of the car. My mom was completely stopped at the time. I guess the kid wasn’t paying attention. She was pretty freaked out but so was the kid - he jumped up, grabbed his bike and ran off.

Yeah, i was wondering this too.

I drive a stick, and the only reason for it to roll anywhere is if it’s on an incline, and the parking brake is off with the clutch depressed or the car in neutral. And if that happens, it’s not the car’s fault; it’s driver error. If the driver knows how to drive, there’s no reason why a manual should pose any more danger than an automatic.

As i suggested, it will roll backwards on an incline IF you let it. If you’re on an incline, and the car rolls, it’s your fault as the driver. If you’re paying attention and know how to drive, it’s trivially easy to prevent it from happening.

They’ll roll on a slant, in the moment(s) between the brake being released and the gas being engaged. I learned how to drive using a stick shift in Seattle, and well do I know the woes of that little rollback.

Back to the OP, my husband was at the wheel yesterday and we were approaching a group of little kids and adults – most of the people were on our right, and there was a couple with a stroller on the left. The adults on the right were keeping all of the kids back from the road, but right at the last possible second two of kids (about 3 years old) darted in front of our car. Scared the bejeezus out of all adults present. As we slooooooowly rolled past the group, I saw those two little ones getting a stern talking-to.

Don’t driving schools in the US teach hill starts?

When i learned to drive a manual, in Australia, one of the requirements was that you be able to start on a steep incline using the parking brake to prevent rollback.

Now that i’ve been driving for 20+ years, i almost never bother using the parking brake in regular driving situations, and it’s only on really steep hills (i mean San Francisco steep) that i get any noticeable rollback at all.

Furthermore, this should hardly be a problem for pedestrians, because they shouldn’t be walking behind cars that are on the road anyway. I’ve never been in a parking lot where the parking spaces are so steeply inclined as to pose a problem.

Yup. I learned all that – and believe me, hills in downtown Seattle can be as steep as those in San Fran. I was just explaining how rollbacks can happen with a stick shift – wth an incline and an inexperienced or inattentive driver.

I didn’t meant to start a manual transmission hijack; I was just being a little lazy in a parking lot while waiting to go, and the pedestrian came up right to my back bumper while I was being lazy (I mean, inches from my back bumper). She jumped, I jumped, and I changed my ways after that.

It hasn’t been a problem for me, and I do walk behind cars on the street–only, mind you, when I am lawfully crossing the street and they have unlawfully plopped their dead metal ass so far up the crosswalk that walking in front would put me in the path of oncoming traffic. If I walk behind a car backing up, it’s only because the driver has seen me, stopped and waved me to proceed; this has not been a problem either.

The OP’s situation seems a tad exceptional, but this was my initial response as well. In my suburban neighborhood, for every OP who is careful when backing up, there are many MANY more who just slam it into reverse and hit the gas. I guess they figure that simply because they don’t walk anywhere, they don’t expect anyone else to either.

I have 2 dogs that I walk frequently, and use the sidewalks a lot. Over the weekend I saw a guy ahead of me get into his car, and correctly anticipated he would zip backward in front of me. So I stood and waited, giving him a nice old stinkeye when he finally looked in my direction and noticed me - well after he would have already hit me and/or my dogs. But what followed was something I never expected, and had never experienced before. After I had crossed his driveway and as he shifted into drive, he actually rolled down his wondow and apologized. What is the world coming to when a motorist actually apologizes to a pedestrian?! :eek:

And regarding rollback, last fall I was in Seattle driving a rental car, and the first time I stopped at a red light on an upslope I was surprised at how much the car rolled back when I shifted from the brake to the gas. My daily driver is a 4-speed, and tho I’m pretty competent with it I certainly prefer when folk don’t pull right up to my bumper when I’m stopped on a hill.

I’m 41 and went behind reversing vehicle a few months ago. Vehicle had appeared to be pulling out of a spot by a fire hydrant when I started crossing so I expected it to continue pulling out but instead started backing in again. Guy on the sidewalk yelled at the driver to stop then said something to me about not seeing the woman, who I assume was his wife, backing up. Seems he was outside the vehicle to guide her.

I have never met anyone in America who was taught to use the parking break for starts. You just expect a bit of roll back, it’s not a big deal. If it’s a steep hill and a big truck you leave a bit of extra room for rollback allowance.

By the time most people have driven 5 years or so you learn your car so that there is maybe a max of 1 inch rollback anyway. It only becomes an issue for a new driver to stick, or driving someone else car that has an unfamiliar clutch action.

My first car had a foot operated emergency break and release anyway.