Posted on 26th Jul, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
On the whole, many would think that summer is the one time of year where visibility on the roads wouldn’t be an issue. That’s certainly true in one sense, but it’s not quite that simple! The darkness and wetness of winter is indeed where it can get really dangerous, but summer brings with it its own set of unique hazards, too. This week here at Vision Techniques, we explain more about these hazards, and what you can do to avoid them!
It’s fair to say that we don’t get a whole lot of sunny weather here in Britain. That means that when the mercury rises and the clouds start to clear, most of us are dead set on making the most of it! As a result, roads and driveways often become busier in summer as children set up impromptu football games and adults set up impromptu barbecues. Family pets, especially dogs, are also given more free reign to roam outside houses.
For HGV drivers, this results in a variety of new obstacles to contend with, some of which can even spill out onto main roads (for example, children chasing footballs – or dogs chasing cars!). It’s true that you might not have trouble picking them out in the blazing sunshine, but to do that they’ve got to enter your field of vision in the first place. For this reason, it’s vital that you’re able to maintain a 360° field of awareness around your vehicle.
In addition to our extensive range of vehicle cameras, you may be interested in our VT Banksman Reversing Radar system, which has been designed for situations exactly like these.
The relationship between bikes and HGVs has always been somewhat fraught, although occasionally there are some brighter moments. For many people, the sunshine presents a great opportunity to get out of their cars and get more active on their morning commutes, which often translates into growing numbers of cyclists on the roads at rush hour. For the same reasons, summer is the season when the biggest public sporting events are scheduled, including marathons and cycling events. This means increased chances that drivers may suddenly find themselves suddenly navigating through large crowds of cyclists (and that’s if the roads aren’t closed entirely).
Summer is generally free of the wet conditions we often see in winter, creating widely dangerous road conditions for all users. Unfortunately though, the drier conditions can inspire what can generously be termed as confidence in some other drivers, who go for overtakes and drive for gaps that they might not otherwise risk in wetter conditions.
By the same token, traffic jams are shorter and briefer than they often are in winter, which means that some people are less patient. Most experienced HGV drivers will know the feeling of having to suddenly slam on the brakes when cut up by a smaller vehicle! Now, we’re not saying that these drivers are in the majority by any means – in fact, the vast majority of road users are as patient as they are sensible – but unfortunately the dangerous drivers are frequent enough to be worth bearing in mind.
Our range of vehicle cameras and mobile DVR products are both ideal for maintaining an unbroken field of vision around the vehicle, as well as protecting fleets and drivers from litigation, should an accident ever occur.
Here at Vision Techniques, your safety is our absolute priority. On our site we have a huge range of vehicle safety products to help protect both you and other road users. You can explore our full range of safety products here, or if you need any help just give us a call on 08452 872 240.
Posted on 20th Jun, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
The relationship between HGV drivers and cyclists is famously fraught, so it’s fair to say that it’s relatively rare to find a positive news story about any interactions. Happily, a recent story involving four year-old Rhonda Jones has broken with that pattern, garnering a fantastic reaction amongst the general public in just a matter of hours. In this case, the driver’s brilliant sense of vehicle safety was rewarded by an enthusiastic reaction, helping to explain the clip’s extraordinary popularity!
The footage of the clip itself was taken from the onboard camera of a trailer bike ridden by Tom Jones (not that one), who microblogs along with his wife about bicycle touring with their three children. His four year-old daughter, Rhonda, was in the seat of the trailer bike, and the video starts as an HGV starts to edge into view on the road behind her. You can see as you watch the video how the HGV driver waits patiently for the right passing opportunity, and when he initiates it he takes care to leave plenty of room for the family as he conducts the overtake.
The moment that’s captured the public’s hearts is when Rhonda spots his considerate driving technique, and flashes him an enthusiastic thumbs-up as he passes. From the footage, it’s easy to see that the pass happened on a particularly narrow piece of road, which left the driver with relatively little space to conduct the overtake. Instead of risking it and passing as closely to the family as he pleased, he instead waited patiently until he could safely pass.
It’s not hard to see why the video has been so successful, and it also does HGV drivers a great credit. Though the vast majority are not inconsiderate road users, significant statistics each year point to dangerous or even deadly collisions with cyclists. There are all sorts of reasons for this, from the bulk of the vehicle itself to the relatively limited field of vision the driver sometimes has compared to other road users. Cyclists, meanwhile, are far smaller and more vulnerable, which means that any interaction with them on the roads demands particular care and attention.
Here at Vision Techniques, the safety of all road users is equally important to us, and it’s a core focus in our range of vehicle safety products. Specifically, our TurnAware Cyclist Detection System has been designed for this exact purpose. It’s a camera and monitor system that uses light, speed and movement sensors to determine whether a hazard is moving towards or away from the HGV. This not only helps HGV drivers to identify and adapt for cyclists, but also helps cut down on the chances of irritating false alarms. When a cyclist is indeed approaching the nearside or blind spot of the vehicle, the driver is notified with audible alarms and movement on the display screen.
To complement this, you can also take a look at our TurnSensor Side Detection System, which similarly uses ultrasonic sensors to warn drivers of nearby cyclists. Essentially, it works by sending out pulses at short, regular intervals. When a pulse doesn’t reach its radius, it signals that to an alarm unit, which then alerts the driver to the position and distance of the cyclist or object.
Of course, considerate, careful driving techniques like those demonstrated by the driver in the video will always be the best way to deal with vulnerable road users, but the great thing about our cyclist safety products is that they can maximise your drivers’ field of vision and absolutely minimise the chances of any accidents. You can explore our full range of cyclist safety products here, or alternatively give us a call on 01254 679 717.
Posted on 22nd May, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
Despite making up only a relatively small proportion of road traffic, HGVs are regularly involved in some of the most serious accidents on Britain’s roads. And although there are certain accidents which will always be unavoidable, happily for fleet managers and the drivers themselves, there are some excellent precautions they can take to cut down on the likelihood and severity of road accidents. This week on the blog, we’re looking at three of the most common causes of HGV accidents, and how what you can do to prevent them.
We’re kicking off our list with one of the most obvious causes. Many accidents involving HGVs come down to simple lack of visibility. The height of the cab from the ground results in a corresponding increase in the HGV’s blind spot – which is one of the reasons that smaller, more vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists can frequently be in more danger than car drivers. In 2015 alone, there were 377 collisions reported with cyclists – almost a third of whom were seriously injured or killed.
How you can prevent it
Naturally, some responsibility will always rest with the driver in ensuring they’re constantly aware and vigilant of their surroundings. However, here at Vision Techniques we have a range of cyclist safety products that can make this task easier – including TurnAware, a video analytics system that provides drivers with enhanced visibility to monitor their surroundings, helping them to avoid potential collisions.
For many HGV drivers, there is an ongoing issue with the industry regarding the importance of proper breaks. The majority of drivers will be familiar with the idea of driving for exceptionally long distances each day, but those working for certain less reputable firms may well find themselves doing this frequently without proper breaks or periods of rest. This can result in an increased chance of falling asleep at the wheel, which can have potentially fatal consequences.
Even if drivers are taking their appropriate periods of rest, there’s still the possibility that they can become incapacitated in other ways, either due to illness or a pre-existing medical condition (such as an epileptic fit). Once again, if this happens as they’re driving, it could result in a catastrophe.
How you can prevent it
In preventative terms, it’s often up to employers to assigned periods of dedicated rest to HGV drivers, and ensure that they’re taking them. Meanwhile, to minimise the risks posed by drivers becoming incapacitated, fleet managers can install our patented StopSafe system in the cabs of their vehicles. When a driver becomes incapacitated, StopSafe uses a large, easily accessible red button to give crew the opportunity to bring the vehicle to a halt in a safe, controlled manner.
To some extent, human error will always be a sadly unavoidable aspect of life on the road. Leaving aside the issue of negligent driving, it’s not unheard of for HGV drivers to misjudge, for example, the braking distance of their vehicles. Sudden or improper braking can lock the wheels, potentially leading to a jack-knifing scenario. In many instances, proper training and careful vehicle maintenance is the best way to preventatively account for these circumstances.
One of the most common instances of human error we see here at Vision Techniques, however, involve drivers failing to properly apply the handbrake. In fact, it’s such a frequent occurrence that we’ve developed our own technology specifically designed to tackle this danger.
How you can prevent it
The technology in question is our Brakesafe system, which essentially automatically applies the handbrake if the driver forgets. It will also sound an audible alarm, alerting the driver to the risk. This can help prevent incredibly dangerous ‘rollaways’, involving vehicles parked on hills.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the most common causes of HGV accidents, but investing in these technologies for your fleet can give you a tangible advantage in heading off some of the major risks. You can click here to browse our full range of vehicle safety products, or give us a call on 08455 911 434.
Posted on 12th Dec, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
HGVs and cyclists have a difficult relationship at the best of times. One is fast, large and potentially deadly, while the other is small, slow and intensely vulnerable – not to mention often being difficult to see. Winter brings these frequent truths into even harsher reality, as shorter and darker days make it even more difficult for HGV drivers to see and account for cyclists. This week on the blog here at Vision Techniques, we have a few suggestions on how to make things easier – and how our cyclist safety products can help.
Posted on 10th May, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
The HGV industry has been in the spotlight again in recent weeks, this time in the context of cyclist safety. This is largely due to a video posted by a disgruntled cyclist involving a Sainsbury’s HGV. It’s drawn a vast number of differing opinions, prompting a national discussion about correct driving procedure for HGVs (and even motorists at large).
Posted on 4th Apr, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
Vision Techniques will be attending the CV Show again this year and for the first time ever will have a vehicle on stand demonstrating all of their systems. They will be on stand 4H76 with BrakeSafe, TurnAware, and VT Record being highlighted this year.
Posted on 16th Mar, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
Once again Vision Techniques attended the CLOCS show at the Excel, London. The event took place on the 14th March 2017, with cyclist safety systems and the new rollaway prevention system BrakeSafe being highlighted.
Posted on 30th Jan, 2017 by Jonathan Peach
Cyclist safety is a massive national concern, especially for those in urban environments, and is a big issue for us at Vision Techniques. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads went up by 59%, which is an unnerving figure to say the least, and current London mayor Sadiq Khan made it a focal point of his campaign. HGVs were involved in the vast majority of these accidents, despite making up a tiny proportion of normal road traffic.
Posted on 8th Jun, 2016 by Jonathan Peach
Cyclist safety is still a huge topic in today’s news and has come to light once again following a new petition. The petition, launched in May, has called for a legal minimum passing distance when drivers overtake cyclists. While the Highway Code already advises motorists to leave plenty of room when passing cyclists, will implementation of this new law enforce the issue or not make a difference at all?