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How do longer vehicles affect vehicle and cyclist safety?

How do longer vehicles affect vehicle and cyclist safety

Posted on 12th Sep, 2016 by Jonathan Peach

Since 2012, there has been an on-going trial to assess the use, safety and viability of longer trailers. The pilot scheme, being monitored by the DfT, involves the use of HGV trailers that are 2.05m longer than the current standard. The benefits include the ability to transport a great volume of goods. However, there’s a concern that these longer vehicles will affect vehicle and cyclist safety.

The results so far

How do longer vehicles affect vehicle safety

As of data collected in July, the trial appeared to be going well. At this time, there were a total of 1,764 longer semi-trailers (LSTs) on the road through 151 operators. The DfT also noted ‘significant savings’ on kilometres travelled and that between 8.7 and 106 million km of HGV journeys had been removed. With each vehicle carrying more goods, fewer vehicles have been travelling on Britain’s roads. This has had a positive effect on road congestion while increasing delivery efficiency and also helping the environment.

About the safety of the new LSTs, Karen Dee, The Freight Transport Association’s Director of Policy, adds:

“We are pleased that once again the report is demonstrating that LSTs have a really good safety record.”

Safety solutions for longer vehicles

Even though LSTs are thought to be no less safe than HGVs, longer vehicles are typically associated with more accidents. When a vehicle has a longer trailer, it’s harder for other road users to pass the vehicle safely. Furthermore, it’s harder for truck drivers to see who’s beside them.

To remedy these problems, road safety technology solutions like VT TurnSafe are required. The TurnAware camera makes operators aware of vulnerable road users while TurnAlarm and TurnSign alert road users to potential danger. TurnSensor is another fantastic addition to this range, locating danger down the side of our vehicle while TurnCamera covers all the action in your blind spot.

Another concern about longer vehicles is the greater stopping distances. This leaves little room for driver reaction times when changing lanes or reducing speeds. Reversing also becomes an issue in longer vehicles. With limited visibility, reversing becomes difficult for operators. Longer vehicles, of course, can cause more damage too, fatally injuring a pedestrian or cyclist.

VT Banksman, our reversing camera systems, reduces the risk of reversing-related collisions and fatalities. Using an FMCW microwave radar system, reversing accidents can be reduced by 100%.

While these safety issues haven’t been made evident yet, they are a concern in countries where longer vehicles are commonplace. With a larger rollout of LSTs, there’s a concern that road safety will become an issue unless safety features and technology is in place.

If you’re keen to explore our other safety solutions and accessories, why not head over to the Vision Techniques store?

Do you drive a longer vehicle? If so, what action have you taken to ensure safety to other road users? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @VisionTechnique