Traffic fatalities are never a nice thing to think about. But they do happen, and all too often. Over 2000 people die on British roads every single year, and that number is slowly climbing every year. And when you look at the statistics, HGV’s are involved in a lot of those fatal accidents. But for us, even one fatality involving an HGV is too much. Which is why we’re hoping to improve that, but sharing with you the top 5 causes for HGV related accidents in the UK, and how you can prevent them.
Up in first place for the biggest cause of HGV related accidents is loss of driver control. Now a driver can lose control of a vehicle for a number of reasons, and not all of them are their fault. The weather plays a huge roll in this, from fog to ice, snow and even driving rain. All of this makes it difficult for tyres to grip the road and for drivers to see clearly. It’s also a challenge for normal motorists, and this causes collisions with any other vehicle on the road – HGV or not. But some of the loss of control can be the driver’s fault – from distraction to reacting badly to other drivers. Because a lot of the causes of this are out of your control, the best thing we can suggest is to keep your vehicle well maintained and serviced, since the little things like efficient brakes, wipers and lights could save your life.
Whenever you’re driving it’s always important to be aware of what’s going on all around you, not just in the immediate section of road ahead. It’s one of the reasons the hazard perception section of the test has such a prominence in HGV testing. But we understand that it can be a challenge, since your HGV’s blind spots are around 5 times bigger than a traditional car. But to easily avoid accidents, HGV drivers need to stay aware of what’s happening around them in every direction; front, sides and behind. This is easier if you need your mirrors clean and ensure nothing is hanging or flapping off the sides of your vehicle.
The UK has some of Europe’s busiest roads, and the drivers on them are far from the politest you will find. UK drivers tend to be a bit more aggressive, and it can be really tempting to respond to that aggression with more aggression, or passive-aggression. But don’t fall for it! Aggressive driving is much more likely to cause accidents, so your response to aggressive drivers needs to be safe and calm. Idiots should always be treated with a healthy dose of zen! You should also avoid things like drink or drugs the day before your drive, since these things can linger and heighten reckless driving.
Have you ever been tempted to check your mobile phone during that endless stream of slow-moving traffic? Or fiddle with the radio while you’re on the motorway on a long drive? It’s something we all experience, and yet every year lives are lost in these few moments of carelessness. So don’t give in! Keep your phone away from you in the cab, and make sure you are fully focussed on the road when you’re driving. It’s also worth mentioning that accidents are most common at night, after 11pm, when drivers tend to hit the wall and get tired. So if you feel your eyelids drooping, pull over and take a break, have a nap, go for a walk or even just have a cup of coffee to make yourself more alert.
And then we come to one of the most common problems on UK roads – speeding. Did you know that four people were caught speeding every minute last year? And when you speed, you don’t have as much control over your vehicle, you have hugely reduces stopping time and you are much more likely to cause a serious and fatal accident. So slow down! Many HGV’s have speed limiters on board, but that doesn’t mean you have to strain against it the whole time. Speed limits are a maximum, not a minimum, so even if you’re on a rural country road and it all looks clear, stay safe and stick to the speed limit.
At The LGV Training Centre, we believe that even one fatality at the hands of an HGV driver is too much. And a lot of the accidents on our roads could easily be avoided with proper training and care. So our instructors take extra care to teach every driver we take on not only how to drive their HGV, but how to do it safely, and to be responsible behind the wheel. If you would like to know more about becoming an HGV driver with us, please just get in touch with the team today.