For those who don’t work in the freight and logistics industry, it may well seem that the life of a lorry driver is a pretty easy one – they sit down all day, listening to the radio! The truth is that there are a number of factors that HGV drivers are faced with on a daily basis that need to be preempted in order for their journey to be incident-free, here are just a few:
Self-driving trucks are a little way off just yet so it’s down to the HGV driver to navigate their vehicles through busy traffic and around narrow streets in our towns and cities. Simply getting from one side to another can be an exhausting obstacle course!
Reversing is something that doesn’t cause a major issue to most vehicle users, however, when your ride is an HGV, reversing is something that is better off avoided. Nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur during reversing. Many other reversing accidents do not result in injury but cause costly damage to vehicles, equipment and premises. Where reversing is unavoidable, full concentration is required.
Blind Spots to look out for on HGV’s
Blind spots are responsible for the majority of accidents involving HGVs. More than 80% of serious cyclist accidents happen at, or within 20 metres of a junction as a result of a driver not being able to see what’s around him clearly. When a lorry turns left at a junction, the blind spots on the front diagonal and sides of an HGV prevent a driver from being able to see a cyclist to its front and its side. This makes it far too easy for a cyclist to be hit and subsequently fall under an HGV’s back wheels.
The other main blind spot in HGVs is at the rear. As HGVs rarely have a centre rearview mirror, drivers have no idea what’s directly behind them. While this is less of an issue than the blind spots to the front and sides, the rearview blind spot can still cause problems. Nevertheless, drivers should always be extra vigilant when it comes to their blind spots.
By the same token, the driver can be at risk when unloading from the rear of the vehicle. Passing cars just don’t have time to react on our narrow British roads if a driver walks out to the side from the rear of the vehicle, even if they are wearing the appropriate Class 1 hi-vis clothing.
Not all loads or vehicles are the same. Choose a securing system that stops the load moving without creating other risks – like unnecessary manual handling and working at height. If a load is not adequately secured it can have serious consequences for the driver, other road users, and anyone involved with unloading the vehicle.
HSE (Health and Safety Executive) statistics show that workplace transport is one of the highest risk work activities, accounting for over half of all death or injury incidents reported to HSE. Many incidents are a direct result of poor load securing, so drivers have to ensure their load is safe and secure before moving off.
Some LGVs have audible warning systems to signal when the vehicle is reversing and the more modern vehicles are now including blind-spot sensors. These can help to keep people away from the vehicle and advise the driver if something or someone is in their blind spot.
It’s important to keep sensors as well as rearview cameras clean so they operate effectively. A regular truck wash can help with this especially during winter months when there’s lots of salt and muddy water on the roads.
A driver mustn’t rely on these completely: they’ll still need to look and make sure they can reverse and manoeuvre safely before they make the move.
Using a mobile phone while driving has been an offence since 1 December 2003 and this applies to any type of phone use – calls, texts, emails, photos, internet access and streaming. Holding the phone in any way, for example, cradled between chin and shoulder or held between the knees is also an offence. So the simple answer to this is, mobile phones should be stored in the glove box while driving to prevent distraction.
Responsible Driving at All Times
Being involved in a drink driving accident can obviously result in serious injuries and/or death. It can also mean the loss of your job. Nevertheless, it goes further than that. Other consequences include; a criminal record, a fine, loss of licence, increased insurance costs.
Professional drivers should refrain from alcohol completely if they are required to report for work within the next 24 hours. Because it is so difficult to determine how alcohol will affect each individual, it’s simply better to avoid it altogether when you know you have to work.
So, it’s not all sitting down with your favourite playlist blasting from the speakers, responsible driving involves multi-tasking and ensuring safety, in all areas as a priority.