Over the last few months there has been a lot of bad press around HGV drivers. Whether it’s the man in the South who killed a family by driving his lorry into them, or the hundred drivers caught along the M4 driving while using their phones – HGV drivers are coming under more scrutiny than ever. So this month we want you to take a look at your own driving practices and ask yourself – are you the best you can be, or are you a news headline waiting to happen?
Driving tired is one of the single biggest causes of road accidents in this country among car, van and HGV drivers alike. You could argue that HGV drivers are more prone to tiredness simply because they are on the road more, with long hours behind the wheel bound to take their toll. Every driver will drive tired at some point in their lives – in fact, more people drive tired than drive drunk, and cause more accidents because of it.
With every Driver CPC and HGV driving course we teach, we ask the drivers some basic questions to make them think about whether they are that tired driver, and we’d like to ask you the same ones.
- Have you every yawned frequently while driving?
- Have you ever felt yourself closing your eyes?
- Have you ever found yourself opening the window or turning up the radio to try and stay alert?
- Have you ever driven, but not remembered driving the last few miles?
90% of people will have done all of these things at least once in their driving lives, even if they don’t want to admit it. Even more people do these things on a weekly or even daily basis, simply because their hectic lifestyles drain them of energy. If you find yourself doing any one of these things, you should think about ways to reduce your tiredness.
Of course, drinking and tiredness aren’t the only things that cause accidents on the road. Just take the recent spate of drivers causing major collisions that were caught using their mobile phones. But while car drivers can put the phone away, it’s a bit more difficult for professional drivers. For HGV drivers, distractions are everywhere, from their tachographs to radio messages and even other road users. The routes HGV drivers take are pre-planned and carefully monitored, so if they miss a junction because, for example, it’s closed, they will get a notification on their tachograph that they missed it, followed by another notification with a re-route plan, and often followed up with a phone call from the monitoring dispatch checking on why they missed the turning. Because these distractions are necessary, drivers need to be educated on how to cope with them and not let them affect your concentration or driving. To aid this, many companies are issuing ‘no contact while driving’ policies to stop contact with drivers while they are driving and prevent accident. This comes after research says that when you take a call while driving, you are 70% on the phone and only 30% on the road.
Of course, there are some drivers, particularly those who come across from other countries, who don’t adhere to these rules as strictly as they should. That’s why companies need to be especially vigilant about the class of driver they are employing, as the ones who are bending these rules are also the ones who drive tired or distracted and cause accidents. All drivers educated on our CPC courses are given extensive training on tiredness prevention, the regulations and how to stick to them. Driving tired is dangerous for everyone on the road, and as professional drivers we are held to a higher standard and work hard to stick to them. For more information or to book onto one of our courses, get in touch today