As a CVR Test Centre, Transway Fleet Solutions understands the importance of keeping HGVs well maintained and roadworthy.
However, a fully compliant vehicle only remains safe in the right hands, and as road users we all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe. Road user behaviour has the biggest impact on road safety in Ireland today. Drivers of heavy goods vehicles are professionally trained and have to follow strict guidelines in order to ensure their driving is of a high standard. There is good reason for this as these lorries are larger than the other road users and it takes skill to manoeuvre and to break in time. How can all road users improve their behaviour to become safer on Irish roads?
The obvious things like wearing a safety belt, always making correct use of the tachograph to regulate the amount of driving hours and regular vehicle inspections to ensure that the truck is well maintained are simple measures to ensure safety. But also not using a mobile phone while driving is critical. In the event of a collision, the truck driver is usually not badly hurt physically but will have to live with the mental scars of the experience for ever.
Cycling is becoming more common in Ireland in recent years. Not only as a means of transport but also as a leisure activity in order to keep fit. Cyclists are very vulnerable road users and there are all too many reports of accidents and fatalities around collisions involving cyclists.
A cyclist should make themselves as visible as possible and remember if you can’t see the driver, then the driver can’t see you. Cyclists should steer well clear of left-turning trucks, not travel up the side of them but let them turn before moving ahead.
Remember that the driver of a HGV is not like a car driver that may be able to easily see you. The HGV driver is positioned at a height and might not see you if you cross the road between parked cars. Cross at pedestrian crossings where possible, don’t take risks, you might try to run across the road in front of a truck but a stumble can lead to a fatality.
Car drivers should be mindful of stopping times and distances for trucks. If you pull in in front of a HGV on a road too close to them, they may have to break suddenly and it could have dire consequences. Remember to drive safely around trucks and be mindful of dealing with blind spots. Anticipate turning vehicles and truck stopping distances and keep well back.
One of the most dangerous places to be parked is on the motorway hard shoulder. It’s illegal and so you should not be there in the first place. However, if you have broken down then get out of the car and move over the barrier onto the grass verge as far from the road as possible and phone for assistance. A passing lorry could hit your car or you and the results could be catastrophic.
These road users are six times more likely to be killed on Irish roads than any other road user. Weaving in and around large lorries is something that can be seen way too often. Visibility is reduced from the HGV drivers’ perspective and a motorcyclist driving up the inside of a truck in dark clothes can be impossible to see. While the collision might be a scrape on a truck, it is likely to be a fatality for the motorcyclist.
All this advice is very obvious and sometimes we as road users forget the power and danger that comes with these big transport vehicles. If we all respect each other, slow down and follow some common sense advice then it will go towards reducing the heartache for families that lose loved ones every week of the year in Ireland.