Stay safe around HGVs during #roadsafetyweek
HGV traffic is increasing year on year as the world gets smaller and goods move further and faster.
Brake, the road safety charity, is campaigning for all of us to “Step up for safe streets” during Road Safety Week this year. We all have a role to play in keeping our roads and streets safe and we at DrivenMedia take our social responsibility seriously.
In Europe, a study of road traffic accidents shared by Science Direct suggests that only 16% of accidents involving HGVs or buses can have the ‘causation links’ traced back to the driver of the truck or bus. In Australia, 80% of road fatalities involving heavy vehicles are caused by the other party – not by the truck driver, and most of those are young people under 21.
These stats reveal that we can ALL do so much more to support the drivers who keep our goodies moving in one of the most dangerous jobs in the UK!
So please, take a look at our tips for keeping safe around lorries and share them with your young people!
1. Know your spots!
Yes, we all know lorries have blind spots. But do you know where they are? Or how big those spots really are? You may be surprised at how far away from a truck you can be – and still be invisible to the driver.
Technology is making ‘blindspots’ a thing of the past, but until every vehicle has cameras, fresnel lenses or ultrasonics systems, vigilance is key. You’ve probably seen the videos of side-swiped cars or images showing an array of cyclists that can’t be seen by the driver. A general rule is if you can’t see the mirror – the mirror can’t see you!
Be patient and leave lots of room for manoeuvres and turns.
2. Keep your distance!
We have already established that the driver can’t see you. You can’t see past the lorry either!
In order to give the HGV driver the space they need, you need to be able to anticipate the move they are going to make. If you are inches from his backside, that’s impossible.
You are also going to have problems if the driver slams their brakes on. Stopping distances are much longer for trucks than cars. The UK Speedtrap Guide has a handy comparison on their website, showing – at 60mph – the more than DOUBLE the stopping distance is needed for an HGV than a car. This tells us that the lorry in front of you will reduce speed SLOWER than you if they need to brake urgently, and you will keep moving – right into their tailgate!
3. Get your timing right
Whether it’s patience that’s needed, or putting your foot down, timing is everything.
If you need to overtake a lorry, just do it. Of course, make sure you have the appropriate space and time. Many of us can be hesitant, wondering whether the driver has seen us or not. They probably haven’t – you’re in their blind spot! So just get on with it. It’s unlikely the driver will move lanes without indicating and waiting. They’ve also probably clocked you behind them and are now waiting for you to reappear! It helps if you go as fast as legally and safely possible, reducing your time spent in the danger zone too. Don’t exceed the speed limit, but crawling past a lorry at 62mph is just increasing time and space for things to go wrong (other lorry drivers can see each other as they overtake!).
4. Stay aware
These extra considerations take exactly that – extra consideration. If you are tired, distracted, or otherwise unfocused, you will not be giving due attention to that hunk of metal travelling at speed in your vicinity.
Whether you are a pedestrian, a cyclist or a fellow driver, you are responsible for every millimeter of space you take up in the world – and every second you are in someone else’s. Don’t let an awful accident be YOUR fault.
The research on Science Direct’s site above also highlights Monday and Tuesday as the most dangerous days of the week. While there is no attempt to qualify this fact, it is fair to assume that tiredness after weekend activities is a major factor…
If you’d like to find out more about how our fleets can support your goals, please get in touch.
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