Trailer Talk

'E-Z Guider' begs the question, Why don't trailers have backup lights?

August 25, 2011

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Ever back a trailer into a dark alley or loading dock? Talk about a black hole!
The inventors of the "E-Z Guider," Clint Younger and Ida Manning of Newark, N.J., must've done it, because they've come up with an invention that would light the way.

"Professional drivers who generally move the bulk of our nation's freight are superb drivers but can always use help when backing trailers down dark alleys, tunnels, garages and similar tight passages," they say in a press release from Invention Resource International.

"The E-Z Guider illuminates these passages sufficiently to be seen easily in the rear-view mirrors and thus helps avoid errant steering of the trailer and inadvertent sideswiping collisions with walls, fences and/or other structures or objects. When not in use, the E-Z Guider lights are covered and protected."

The product would include eight lights, four on each side, that pivot up and down, and each light would be swivel mounted within the base. A driver would operate E-Z Guider lights from the cab.

Preventing collisions would of course save money. This might offset the cost of installing these lights, though it might take several non-accidents (how do you count those?) to pay for motorized devices. I'd install stationary lights.

The release says insurance companies might be induced to lower their collision preiums, though it's likely that damage from such mishaps would usually fall within the deductible amount of a policy.

For the inventors' sake, I hope E-Z Guider makes it to market, because I can see owner-operators buying the product. Big over-the-road fleets wouldn't, because executives would expect the lights themselves to be damaged and/or stolen. Theft is a real concern when you have thousands of trailers on the road and sitting in, yes -- dark yards.

To me, E-Z Guider begs the question: Why don't trailers come standard with back-up lights, at least at the rear? Back-up lights are standard on tractors, but about all they do is illuminate a trailer's underside.

Cost is an obvious argument against the idea. Many fleet buyers view trailers as a commodity and want to keep the purchase price as low as possible. But some foodservice operations which require drivers to maneuver in congested and populated areas, like restaurant parking lots, do buy backup lights. So trailer makers can do it.

Anyway, for more information about this product, go to one of these websites:, or

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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