The highest occurring accidents for HGV and haulage drivers – and how to avoid them.
Fatalities on Britain’s roads are declining – but statistics show that HGV vehicles are causing more deaths than ever before. Many people still die every year from accidents involving heavy goods and haulage vehicles, with the highest incidence occurring on rural, single-track roads, which witness 60 – 80 deaths each year.
As an HGV or haulage driver, what can you do to make sure you’re not one of those? Here’s a list of the five biggest killers and why.
Loss of control
This can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes weather conditions, such as ice, fog, high winds and rain, can mean speeds have to be drastically reduced. Sometimes driver distraction is to blame (see below).
Make sure your vehicle is well-serviced at all times – because if you do lose control at the wheel, things like windscreen wipers, lights and brakes could literally save your life.
Failure to look
This is on a par with loss of control as the biggest cause of accidents on British roads. Motorcyclists are 57 times more likely to die in traffic accidents, for example, but they’re also the vehicles easiest to miss. Check your blind spots constantly and you’ll be much safer.
Vehicle maintenance is essential here too. Are your mirrors clean and well-adjusted, for optimum visibility?
The UK has some of Europe’s busiest roads, and some drivers are far from polite and considerate. You might be tempted to react to another driver’s aggression, but this is the worst thing you can do. Be the bigger person (and better driver) and let it go. Idiots are best treated with a healthy dose of Zen!
Any alcohol in your blood is almost guaranteed to make matters worse, so you should avoid drinking completely while driving, even under the legal limit.
How many of us have been tempted to check our mobile phones in slow moving or quiet traffic? But lives are lost ever year to this casual act. If something’s that urgent, come off the road and take a break.
Did you know traffic fatalities are much likelier to happen at night, especially after 11pm? It’s official: tiredness kills. Never give into the temptation to keep going when your eyelids are drooping. Instead, come off the road, have a 20-minute nap, some fresh air and a coffee.
It’s tempting to drive over the limit on motorways, especially if you’ve been stuck in traffic and are running late. But it’s worth remembering that over 50% of motorway fatalities involve HGVs. Don’t risk becoming a statistic.
Increased speed limits on rural roads are predicted to see a rise in accidents. Always remember that the legal limit is the absolute maximum, for which it’s only safe to drive on quiet, straight stretches. Narrow roads, bends and bad weather all require more care – and much less speed.
As an HGV or haulage driver, you have your own and other people’s lives in your hands every day.
The good news is there are many measures you can take to protect yourself which hugely increase safety. They may seem boring – but then, nothing’s more interesting than being alive!