Vehicle maneuvering in tight spaces: how to do it safely

Posted 29 Sep 2023

Vehicle maneuvering in tight spaces: how to do it safely

Any fleet manager knows the risks that go along with maneuvering a vehicle in a tight space. And every driver is even more aware. Tight, complex environments exponentially increase the risk of accidents, and whilst speeds are generally low, those accidents still have the potential to be tragic, costly, or indeed both. 

That risk increases, of course, as vehicles get larger and more complex. And there is nothing unusual about this challenge. In industries from construction to waste management, and plenty in between, the challenge of complex vehicles plus complex environments is common. Indeed, most urban areas, populated as they are by street furniture, other vehicles, and pedestrians, surely qualify as tight, complex environments themselves. 

To prevent accidents and stay safe in these environments, it helps to take a two-pronged approach: 

  • Follow best practices when it comes to navigating tight spaces, and 
  • Invest in technology that gives drivers the support they need

Let’s look at each in turn.

Safe driving

There are specific approaches that can dramatically reduce the chances of accidents in tight or complex working environments. Make sure your drivers are trained to follow them and do so. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Take time and move slowly. It should be obvious but always drive slowly, calmly, and methodically in tight spaces. Avoid sudden movements and acceleration: speed is almost never important. Safety, on the other hand, is paramount.
  • Plan routes. Particularly in large or complex vehicles, the best way to avoid getting into trouble is to be clear about your route before you begin. Making things up as you go is a recipe for ending up in awkward and potentially dangerous situations. Always plan.
  • Avoid reversing or backing up. It is almost always easier to move forward, both in terms of visibility and control of the vehicle. So, whilst reversing can never be entirely avoided, aim to keep it to a minimum. Again, planning will help.

We could go on, but we suspect you get the idea. Smart driving practices can help avoid accidents – and the costs that come with them.

The role of technology

Even the most skillful driver can use a helping hand – or an extra pair of eyes – from time to time. That’s where technology comes in. Just as with driving, there are several ways in which tech can help, but the following should certainly be high up on any list for consideration.


  • Multi-camera systems. Visibility all around the vehicle is vital in tight and complex driving environments. 360° camera systems can provide that visibility, filling in every blind spot and ensuring that at every turn (literally) the driver is aware of his or her surroundings. And of course, cameras record too – so when the worst does happen, you will have perfect knowledge and the ability to learn from mistakes. 
  • Dynamic in-cab screens. Cameras themselves are one thing. But what is equally important is ensuring the driver sees the relevant view at the right time. With screens in the cab that respond to vehicle maneuvers and automatically show what the driver needs to see, your drivers have the information they need to avoid accidents. 
  • AI-powered pedestrian detection. When accidents involve people, the consequences increase exponentially. Thankfully, modern camera systems can accurately identify pedestrians (and cyclists) and warn the driver accordingly when there is a risk of a collision. 
  • Extended visibility. It’s not just about the vehicle. When pulling a trailer, for example, maneuvering becomes more complex, and visibility can be further restricted. Fortunately, extended camera systems can ensure that even in situations like this, drivers can see what they need to see, and be warned of potential dangers as they emerge.

Truck Cabin Camera Monitoring System

The benefits of 360° camera systems do not stop there, of course. By recording everything they help with the ongoing driver training that underpins the delivery of safer driving practices. By identifying and recording near misses and risky behavior, driver training can be personalized and automated to work on the specific issues an individual driver may have. 

With that investment in driver training, alongside the continued support provided by modern cameras and active warning systems, you will be in a great position to handle tight work and urban environments safely. And save money as a result.