Posted on 2nd Oct, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
It’s an unenviable title that – of course – has been awarded to various stretches of roads over the years. It’s always been the subject of numerous studies from various organisations concerned with vehicle safety, and throughout all of the most recent of these studies, there are certain areas which are, unfortunately, highlighted as being consistently dangerous to navigate for motorcyclists, HGVs and regular road users alike.
Amongst the most consistent studies were carried out by EuroRAP; the European Road Assessment Programme, who periodically assess motorways and A-roads outside of urban areas. They found that out of all Britain’s motorways, the M6 stretching from Cheshire to Warwickshire was the most hazardous place for motorists. Throughout 2017, there were 227 accidents on the M6, spread out across only 100 miles of motorway. Not far away, the A357 between Macclesfield and Buxton – known informally as the ‘Cat and Fiddle’ – was another road judged as the road with the most ‘persistently higher risk’.
Manchester Road is similarly dangerous – although it only had 100 accidents in 2017, it’s also the only section in EuroRAP’s top ten that wasn’t a motorway or A road. In fact, Manchester’s overall road safety record is questionable. It was the region that had the highest accident rate, with about 1775 in total throughout 2017. This is compared to an area like West Mercia, which had hundreds less with 1496. So, with a stormy winter apparently fast approaching, what can HGV drivers do to ensure they’re not the ones involved in similar accidents?
Experienced drivers will likely already know that many of the worst accidents are simply caused by impatience. If you’ve ever driven on the ‘Cat and Fiddle’ of the A357 especially, it’s not hard to see why it’s the site of so many accidents. The narrowness of the road means that there are – realistically – extremely limited opportunities for overtaking, and many adjoining side streets and driveways for other vehicles to emerge from unexpectedly. Therefore, to avoid accidents, it’s vital for HGV drivers (and others!) to allow for extra space whenever possible, even in instances where it might not otherwise be deemed absolutely vital. (You can see one of our recent posts for an excellent example!)
On a related note, getting and maintaining a clear view is absolutely vital to avoiding accidents. This is obviously more difficult for HGV drivers than other road users, because of the height of their cabs from the ground. Thankfully, vehicle safety products like those we offer right here at Vision Techniques are specifically designed to make drivers’ lives easier, avoiding damaged vehicles, litigation for fleet operators, and most importantly, avoiding injury or death to other road users.
For example, our cyclist safety products can provide vital warning to drivers of cyclists and other vulnerable road users situated in their blind spots, while our patented, flagship StopSafe system is designed to carefully apply a controlled braking system to bring an out-of-control HGV to a halt, minimising the severity of any further consequences. You can shop our vehicle safety systems right here on our website – and of course, if you need any help or advice feel free to give our friendly sales team a call on 08458 684 858!
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 19th Apr, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
Vision Techniques were invited down to the Aggregate Industries Senior Leadership Conference to show the solution to reversing accidents, VT Banksman Auto Braking.
Posted on 26th Mar, 2018 by Dominic Benabda
HGV drivers are often expected to drive in all weather conditions, day or night, which means that many are well-practised at dealing with inclement weather conditions including rain, fog or even snow. However, high winds can also bring their own dangers for HGV drivers, and they’re even risks that can sometimes be underestimated by fleet operators. Since safety is our business here at Vision Techniques, we thought it worth taking a look in a little bit more detail about what’s involved, and which of our vehicle safety products can help.
At the moment, there aren’t any explicit laws governing when HGV drivers can operate in extreme winds – this is left to the discretion of fleet operators themselves, falling under their legal obligation to protect the wellbeing of their employees. This means that driving lorries in high winds is known as a point of contention for some HGV drivers, who are often subject to pressure from their employers.
On the whole, they say, larger or national companies are generally responsible on making these sorts of judgements. Smaller companies, on the other hand, are often more willing to take the risks for the sake of making their deliveries on time. This is part of why there have been calls for the government to ban driving Heavy Goods Vehicles and other high profile vehicles in extremely windy conditions. Their high profile means that they are more vulnerable to potentially being blown over, causing damage to cargo but – more importantly – posing a serious risk to life. Even if winds aren’t quite high enough for that to happen, there is still the fact that HGVs consume far more fuel under these conditions, which is often a vital consideration for fleet operators.
There are a number of measures that fleet operators can take to safeguard the wellbeing of their drivers, cargo, and other motorists. These include:
Finally, it’s also wise to look at safety devices such as VT StopSafe or VT BrakeSafe, both of which can be instrumental for mitigating dangers posed by extreme weather. If drivers lose control of their vehicle, for example, or become incapacitated at the wheel, our very own vehicle safety product StopSafe can help the crew to being the vehicle to a safe halt without danger of the lorry jack-knifing on a windy highway. Meanwhile, BrakeSafe provides an extra layer of security for HGVs parked on hills or inclines.
Browse our full range of vehicle safety products here, or if you’d like to make an enquiry, you can always give us a call on 08452 873 155.
Posted on 23rd Aug, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
A rollaway in London city centre involving a London double-decker bus could have been prevented with new technology that automatically applies the handbrake.
Posted on 10th Aug, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
Our eCommerce store, VT Store, has a wide range of safety systems that can help fleet managers achieve FORS Bronze standards.
Posted on 16th May, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
Following on from the successful Safety Roadshow 2016, Vision Techniques will be doing more Safety Days in 2017. The first one of 2017 is taking place at the Thruxton Motorsport Centre on 15th June.
Posted on 31st Mar, 2017 by Dominic Benabda
After the success of the Safety Days in 2016, which took place across the UK, Vision Techniques are proud to announce that they will be coming Thruxton Racecourse on 15th June.
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.