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?
Posted on 24th Mar, 2016 by Dominic Benabda
Vision Techniques had a fantastic show for the CLOCS event at ExCel in London meeting new businesses and seeing some familiar faces.
Posted on 18th Mar, 2016 by Jonathan Peach
This week, the Transport committee has called for the mandatory roll out of Transport for London’s Safer Lorry Scheme across the UK. This new call comes as part of a push to improve road and cyclist safety.