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Bigger Problems: What Makes Heavy Goods Vehicles So Dangerous?

Bigger Problems: What Makes Heavy Goods Vehicles So Dangerous? Feature Image

Posted on 23rd Jan, 2017 by Jonathan Peach

It’s common knowledge that Heavy Goods Vehicles are far more dangerous than other traffic, especially when driven badly or irresponsibly. According to research published in 2015, more than half of fatal road accidents on motorways involve HGVs, and they’re five times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident on a minor road than any other traffic. So what makes them so dangerous, and how can we make them safer?

Heavy Goods Vehicles and Their Size

HGV Fleet

One of the most obvious factors that makes HGVs so dangerous is their size. The technical definition of a Heavy Goods Vehicle is any one which weighs over 7.5 tonnes. Once that kind of weight starts travelling at any sort of decent travel speed, it becomes instantly and unquestionably deadly, making them much more of a serious threat to cars. This weight also means that HGVs have heavy acceleration and far greater stopping distances, giving their drivers much less time to spot and react to changes on the road. When it’s too late – as it sadly sometimes is – it’s rarely the HGV drivers who come out worse off.

Their Drivers

HGV Driver

Another part of what makes HGVs so dangerous is the people who drive them. This might sound obvious, but the behaviour of HGV drivers dramatically differs from others, often due to their job. The pay-per-load model is a common way of doing things in haulage work, which means that drivers are paid for each delivery they make, rather than the time it takes to get there. A late schedule means a dramatically reduced taking for the drivers, causing them to rush to their destinations. It’s often during these panicked rushes that mistakes happen, and therefore road accidents.

HGV drivers, both domestic and international, also frequently find themselves driving through the night to make their destinations on time, or even just as part of their normal working day. Our last blog has already detailed the dangers of driving tired – namely, that it’s equally as lethal as driving drunk – so taking regular breaks to rest and refresh is important, and indeed required by law. However, not everyone does, whether by choice or necessity, meaning that their senses are dulled and their reaction times dramatically slowed. When coupled with the lengthened braking distances mentioned above, this can be a recipe for destructive accidents. Driving tired or otherwise irresponsibly carries particularly severe penalties for HGV drivers, including heavy fines, a temporary ban from driving, permanent loss of licence, or even custodial prison sentences.

Their Visibility

HGV Cabin Interior

The size of HGVs also offers another distinctive disadvantage for their drivers – namely that since the cab is so high off the ground, their radius of their blind spots are far, far larger than those of smaller cars. There’s no shortage of instances of even fully alert and responsible HGV drivers being involved in accidents through an inability to see the vehicle right next to them. Happily, it’s this last section that our products are especially good at dealing with. Our range of vehicle cameras can stream four channels of CCTV to eliminate blind spots from your driver’s vision. Our TurnSafe Cyclist cameras, meanwhile, help prevent one of the most common and deadly accident scenarios in our city centres.

For further information, don’t hesitate to contact us, or read our case studies in order to find out how others have already benefitted from our products.

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