Good news! Fatalities from accidents on UK roads are in decline, and we’re close to the lowest fatality rate in years. But many people still die on our roads every year, and statistics show that heavy goods vehicles are involved in too many of those accidents for comfort. This is particularly true on more rural, single track roads, which see numerous accidents (both HGV and non-HGV related) every year, and around 60-80 deaths. So this year, we want to help reduce this number by sharing with you 5 ways you, as a responsible HGV driver, can prevent accidents on the roads.
Stay In Control
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.
Be Aware, Always
An HGV is a big, bulky vehicle. That means it’s often difficult to know what’s going on at all points in the vehicle, especially when your blind spots are about 5 times bigger than the average car. But failing to consider surroundings and use mirrors properly is one of the big causes of accidents in the HGV world – but it doesn’t need to be. Making a point to observe your surroundings – especially in bad weather – is very important. You can also prioritise keeping your mirrors clean to improve visibility.
Be Safe and Sensible
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 recklessness isn’t just aggression – it’s also thing like driving with alcohol or drugs in your system, or not paying attention to the people around you. It’s best to try and remain calm, and not respond to aggression on the road. Instead, treat idiots with a healthy dose of zen, and never drive with any illicit substances in your system.
Be Responsible Behind the Wheel
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 11 pm, 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.
Respect the Speed Limit
And of course – the classic. Speeding. Did you know that four people were caught speeding every minute last year? Speed limits aren’t just pretty signs – they are there to keep everyone on the road safe, and allow you enough stopping time to avoid accidents. This is especially important on rural roads, where it might be tempting to shave a few minutes off your drive time by speeding up. But speed limits are the absolute maximum – not the minimum or a target. If you want to stay safe on the roads, especially in a vehicle as large as an HGV, you need to stick to the speed limits and not become another speeding (or fatality) statistic.
At The Surrey and Hampshire Training Centre, we take driver and vehicle safety very seriously. That’s why we not only teach our drivers how to drive their HGV’s, but how to maintain them properly, and how to be a safe and courteous driver on the road. Every death involving an HGV is too much in our books, and so we are doing everything we can to prevent them – by teaching you how to be the safest driver possible. For more information, just get in touch with the team today.
Get an instant quote
Trust us for local, affordable HGV training.