Posted on 20th Oct, 2017 by Jonathan Peach
Safe driving is absolutely paramount to running any fleet, but all the more so for HGV drivers, given the destructive potential of their vehicles. Harsh braking and sudden acceleration are both viewed as amongst the most dangerous driving behaviours, and can pose a massive risk to other road users. Not that, but they also pose a challenge for fleet operators in general. This week on the blog here at Vision Techniques we’re looking at exactly why it’s such a danger, and how our StopSafe product negates these risks in an emergency.
The main reasons can be classed into three main categories:
The specific consequences go some way beyond these basic points, however – the full information is below.
Even if drivers are lucky enough to avoid an accident (more on that in a moment), the most immediate consequence of harsh braking is that it puts far greater stress on the vehicles themselves, leading to increased amounts of wear and tear over much shorter time periods. In the event that an accident does happen – most likely with the vehicle in front – the financial cost of repair can be severe, and fleet operators also have to consider what impact such incidents have on the company’s reputation.
Sudden acceleration and other dangerous driving is generally far more demanding and less efficient than safer forms of driving, which can quickly start to take its toll on the fuel reserves of individual vehicles. This again can lead to rising costs for the fleet operator – not to mention that it’s extremely environmentally unfriendly, which can impact a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
This is perhaps the most important consequence of harsh braking and other dangerous driving. The increased chance of an accident puts other road users at risk, and the much heavier weight of an HGV means that it has enormous destructive potential if not handled properly. This can all too easily result in serious injury or even death for more vulnerable road users, which includes everyone from pedestrians to cyclists to other motorists.
While sudden braking and acceleration are generally considered unacceptable by many fleet operators, there are circumstances when it is an understandable – though still not correct – first response. For example, if a driver loses consciousness at the wheel of an HGV, a passenger’s first priority will always be to bring the vehicle to a stop. This has never been in question – the only problem has been in how to enable passengers to do this quickly and easily in such situations.
This is exactly the goal we had in mind when we designed our StopSafe technology here at Vision Techniques. As part of its design, a large emergency button is installed on the dashboard. If a driver should lose consciousness, the passenger simply presses this button to activate the StopSafe system, which reduces the vehicle’s speed while applying its brakes the bring the vehicle safely to a controlled stop. StopSafe applies the brakes gradually, minimising the chance of the vehicle skidding or jack-knifing (where the forward momentum of the trailer continues to push the cab along from behind). Though it increases the stopping distance, this method of controlled braking is universally acclaimed in its ability to bring the vehicle to a complete halt while minimising further risk.
You can click here to find out more about the product, or browse our full range of safety products on our website. If you have any questions or need any specific advice, don’t hesitate to give our team a call on 08458 684 858 – we’re here to help!
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