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Road traffic accidents are one of the most feared things amongst HGV drivers. A high percentage of road accidents involving lorries (most commonly known as hgv accidents) are fatal due to the sheer weight of the vehicle; a lorry travelling at 50 mph is capable of tearing through a house, as was the case in September 2018 where a woman was killed in Barnsley after a stolen lorry crashed and took out a sizeable portion of her house.

Given the immense size of the vehicles, it is no surprise that vital actions like braking, manoeuvring, observations and road scanning are difficult to execute effectively in an emergency situation when driving a lorry. In this article, we will cover some of the main causes of HGV accidents in the UK, as well as our top tips on how to reduce your chances of being involved.

Health Issues

Although a medical examination is carried out during the training course, your health can deteriorate over time. It is crucial to inform the DVLA and your GP of any changes you experience with your health to ensure that you are still fit to drive a lorry. In 2013 a major fatality occurred in Scotland where the driver of a lorry had a seizure, lost control of the vehicle which crashed into a house. Catherine Bonner of Fairlie died, and her husband Jim McColl badly injured.

Tips:
• Have regular check-ups with your GP or get in touch with us for your complete HGV driver medical examination.
• Asses your overall health on a weekly basis and notice any changes to your health.
• Regular exercise, a healthy diet and mental stimulation have all been proven to improve physical and mental health, so try to live a balanced lifestyle that incorporates these elements.

hgv accidents
Road Rage

It can be frustrating at times to drive a vehicle that is very slow to respond and takes up a huge amount of space on the road. Combined with the fact that some other road users can be inconsiderate, you can easily be forgiven for feeling angry and frustrated. The important thing to remember is that the safety of other road users is in your hands and it is not worth risking an accident for a temporary moment of rage. Below are some tips to help you keep a cool mind in frustrating scenarios which can prevent you from having unnecessary hgv accidents.

Tips:
• Ensure you are sleeping adequately. It has been proven that chronic lack of sleep impairs your ability to think and make decisions.
• Plan your routes with time to spare to ensure you are not under time pressure on your deliveries.
• Meditation has also been proven to lower stress levels, keep a clear mind and a healthy mental state.

Speed

As an HGV driver, it is vital that you do not exceed the speed limit. The faster you are going the less time you have to manoeuvre in an emergency situation. Always stick to the speed limit and be very mindful of the weather conditions. Weather conditions significantly affect the braking performance and manoeuvrability of the vehicle, so it is crucial for your safety and the safety of the public, that you drive at a speed that is appropriate for the road and weather conditions. If it’s snowing, for example, you will need to drive a lot slower than if It were a hot summers day.

Tips:
• Never exceed the speed limit prescribed for large goods vehicles.
• Check the weather forecast and leave at an appropriate time to ensure you are not under time pressure for your deliveries.
• Check the condition of the vehicle’s tires before you set out – if they do not have a good amount of tread, they will not be able to dissipate the water as effectively in heavy rain.

Bridges

One of the most common hgv accidents in the logistic industry is a lorry hitting a bridge. There are over 2000 reports of lorries crashing into a bridge reported by network rail alone. This causes a serious amount of damage to the vehicle as the top of the lorry is not as strong as the bottom, and completely compromises the structural integrity of the entire lorry. Often the bridge will also suffer damage which will need to be repaired immediately before it can be used (depending on how severe the accident was). The annual cost of repairing bridges has been reported to be some 23 Million pounds per year.

Tips:

• Use a satnav application that is made for LGV drivers to avoid low bridges.
• Know the height and width of the vehicle you are driving.
• Do not attempt to cross a bridge if you are not sure the vehicle fits.

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