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Category Archives: Vehicle safety technology

The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck is not as road-safe as it could be

Posted on 30th Nov, 2018 by Jack Stocker

coca cola truck

You know it’s finally Christmas when the the Coca-Cola Christmas truck makes its official appearance on our screens. Sponsored by one of the world’s biggest global brands and deployed by the ultimate logistics manager – the venerable Santa Claus – the truck travels thousands of miles every year, delivering holiday cheer to families up and down the country. (And Coke, it also delivers Coke.)

But if you’re anything like us, one of the first thoughts that might be running through your head upon watching that advert is how terribly unsuitable that vehicle looks. The sheer bulk of the HGV poses some serious logistic issues for the driver in manoeuvring it into tight spaces, and if he forgets to put the handbrake on when he parks it on a hill, it has the potential to cause complete devastation. Not very festive at all! And no, you can’t say it doesn’t because of magic. It still has to obey physics.

Here at Vision Techniques, we’ve got a few constructive suggestions on how the fleet manager (that’s you, Santa) can make life a lot easier and safer, both for his driver and the road users he encounters.

VT Banksman: Reversing Radar System 

The VT Banksman should undoubtedly be top of the Christmas wishlist. Should the driver become stuck in a particularly tricky spot and find the need to reverse the truck whilst navigating this tiny little Christmas town, he will definitely benefit from this piece of kit. With pedestrian safety in mind, the VT Banksman is able to register audio and visual cues that may not be in the driver’s range of vision or hearing and automatically apply the brakes, preventing collisions with people and static objects – such as the little boy stood directly behind the truck, marvelling at the lights. (Hugely unsafe.) With all these children running around excited to see the Coca-Cola truck, the VT Banksman is a vital piece of technology for registering potential hazards and preventing the risk of collisions when reversing.

trucks in snow

VT Brakesafe: Handbrake Failsafe System

The assumption at the end of the advert is that the driver will be leaving the cabin to hand out bottles of ice cold Coca-Cola to the children and families that have gathered on the street around the truck. But with a long drive behind him and all the excitement and buzz of Christmas welcoming him, it may be easy for him to get distracted and forget one of the most important safety features: the handbrake. The VT Brakesafe system will automatically apply the handbrake, should the driver forget to do so, preventing the truck from running away into the night and causing potential fatalities.

VT Ident: RFID Vehicle Control System

Our VT Ident system ensures that only authorised elves will be able to drive the Christmas truck. Designed to prevent vehicle theft, the Ident system requires authorised personnel to scan their identity tag before allowing access to the vehicle. Each worker’s tag can be programmed to allow them access to specific areas and controls, and the system can even help with fuel emission by taking control of the electrical and hydraulic functions of the vehicle.

And if we can do all that for Santa’s truck, imagine what we can do for yours! Here at Vision Techniques we’ve got a huge range of innovative vehicle safety products, many of which – like StopSafe and Brakesafe – we’ve designed ourselves. Click here to browse them right here on our site, or give our friendly sales team a call on 08455 911 434, and we’ll be only too happy to advise.

Why VT Ident is an effective anti-terror device

Posted on 31st Oct, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

lorry on highway

Security is always a key concern for fleet operators and drivers of HGVs. Historically, theft and vandalism has always been a problem, as it’s hugely expensive to recover or replace heavy vehicles that have been stolen or damaged.

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Are you driving on one of Britain’s most dangerous roads?

Posted on 2nd Oct, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

road

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.

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What is National Road Victim Month all about?

Posted on 15th Aug, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

road victim

You might think you can guess the purpose of National Road Victim Month just from the name. Many would say it’s just about taking a moment to appreciate all the people who’ve been injured or killed in road traffic accidents. And while that’s great, that’s only one part of it. National Road Victim Month was created not just for remembrance, but also for action in the name of these victims, and taking steps to ensure that we stop as many others as we can from suffering the same tragic circumstances.

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3 reasons why extra visibility is essential in summer

Posted on 26th Jul, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

lorry sunshine

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!

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How to prevent the 3 most common causes of HGV accidents

Posted on 22nd May, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

lorries on motorway

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.

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Essential Safety Checks for HGV Drivers

Posted on 20th Apr, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

daily hgv checks

How often do you hear the horn? It’s a common refrain amongst some fleet operators, and actually refers to how often they witness their HGV drivers do their daily checks. Since a short, sharp burst of the horn makes up a vital part of those checks, it’s an easy way to tell that drivers are regularly carrying them out.

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Aggregate Industries astonished by Banksman Radar demonstration

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.

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How To Plan For The Dangers Of Driving HGVs In High Winds

Posted on 26th Mar, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

lorry in rain and high winds

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.

What Does The Law Say About Driving In High Winds?

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.

What Fleet Operators Can Do To Mitigate These Dangers

fleet operators doing logistics

There are a number of measures that fleet operators can take to safeguard the wellbeing of their drivers, cargo, and other motorists. These include:

  • Using fleet tracking software to plan the journey of their drivers, avoiding roads that are high up or exposed (such as bridges or flyovers)
  • Similarly, make sure that this planned journey accounts for lower speed limits, lane closures or potential diversions
  • Make sure that drivers are aware and alert for all the ways that such conditions could affect other road users – particularly smaller, lighter or more vulnerable ones such as cyclists or motorcyclists
  • Empty, curtain-sided vehicles should have their curtains tied at one end to reduce the effect of side winds.
  • Consider how the winds might have an effect on the fuel consumption of the HGVs in question

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.

How Fleet Managers Help To Keep HGV Drivers Safe

Posted on 1st Mar, 2018 by Jack Stocker

hgv driver

The welfare of the vehicles and freight itself is naturally one of the biggest priorities of typical fleet operators – but equally crucial is the welfare of the drivers themselves, who are often subject to unique stressors that can have a severe impact if left unchecked. This week we’re looking at some of the most important ways to protect HGV drivers, as well as how Vision Techniques products can help.

Restricting Time Spent Driving

This issue is well known as one of the most widespread problems facing the haulage industry in particular. Drivers are often subject to tight deadlines (or even paid on commission), and many are known to work particularly long hours on the road in order to meet them. It’s such a well known problem that there are a series of laws that govern the appropriate amount of rest drivers should take. These include:

  • At least 45 minutes of rest for every four and a half hours of driving
  • Only nine hours of driving is permissible per day, extendable to 10 hours no more than twice a week
  • A maximum of 56 hours of driving per week, and 90 in any fortnight
  • Minimum of 11 hours daily rest

hgv driver at work

Though there is little solid data available about how much these rules are adhered to, it’s arguably accurate to say there is a sizeable proportion of drivers who ignore them. It’s up to fleet operators to ensure that drivers are taking their prescribed breaks, as tiredness can easily lead to accidents. Our fleet tracking software is ideal for this sort of application, allowing operators to see where the vehicle is at all times and where and when it’s parked up.

Limits On Maximum Speed

This is arguably as much for the protection of other motorists as it is for HGV drivers themselves, but it still serves as an effective protective measure. Putting limits on the speed that HGVs are permitted to achieve discourages drivers from taking risks, or ‘seizing gaps’ in traffic that might put themselves or others at risk. It also allows emergency measures like StopSafe to take effect that much faster if the driver becomes incapacitated (e.g. by falling asleep at the wheel), thereby preventing collisions that might lead to injury or death.

HGVs Can Be Deliberately Targeted By Other Drivers

Not all threats to drivers are physical – they can be financial and legal, as well. Though an uncommon occurrence, some drivers have been known to target HGVs because of their slow-moving nature. These drivers can then induce crashes, either out of spite – such as this case involving careless driving in Scotland – or in Crash for Cash schemes. In order to protect against these, it’s wise for fleet operators to invest in in-vehicle recording software so that drivers can be easily exonerated in such circumstances, saving them from personal legal repercussions and the fleet operator from significant financial costs (in addition to the repairs of the vehicle in question).

Here at Vision Techniques, we are passionate about the safety of all road users, whether HGV drivers, other motorists or cyclists. You can browse our full range of vehicle safety products here, or for any enquiries give our sales team a call on 08455 643 337.