Enter and Exit Vehicles Safely

Rushing or not paying attention while you enter or exit large commercial vehicles is dangerous, so it’s important to take the time to following all safety procedures.

When you enter a vehicle, face it. Take hold of the grab bar, the seat, or other fixed object in the vehicle to help you climb up. Don’t grab the steering wheel unless it is “locked;” it can turn suddenly and throw you off balance. Don’t grab the door or handle because it can swing out and cause you to fall. If grab bars are missing or improperly placed, add one. In hot or cold weather gloves can improve your grip.

Plan your steps into the vehicle so that you are standing on the same leg as the side that you are entering. To enter the left driver’s side, stand on your left leg and lift your right leg up. You may need to change hand and feet positions while entering and exiting. Keep three points of contact with the vehicle at all times (one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot). To avoid falling out backwards, maintain the three-point rule until you are securely seated or if exiting, feet are firmly on the ground. Only climb on dedicated stepping areas; fuel tanks and fenders can be slippery. Wear shoes with sturdy, no-slip soles, and a heel. And, keep vehicle steps cleaned and maintained.

To exit the vehicle, examine the ground before you step out. Look for ice, water, cracks, and uneven surfaces. Face the vehicle and step down backward while holding onto the grab bar or other stable surface. Use all of the steps until you reach the ground. Don’t use some of the stairs, then jump and hurt yourself by skipping one. Never jump down or “fall” down forward out of a vehicle; you can catch your clothing on the door handle, seat adjustments, seat belt, etc. causing a serious, uncontrolled fall. Repeated jumping or falling can also cause strains and sprains or other serious injuries.

Practicing safety precautions every time you enter and exit a vehicle, not only saves time in the long run; it can also prevent unnecessary pain and injury.

March 2012 Article re-printed from Safety News, published by the State Compensation Insurance Fund

California Distributors Association’s safety coordinator is Ted Machado. Please contact Ted ( if you have any questions concerning employee safety. Also, for your reference and convenience, we have a workers’ compensation safety video library available upon request.

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