A Guide To Handling Road Accidents As An HGV Driver.

What Should You Do If Your HGV Is Involved In An Accident?

Written by Jessie Lee  &  Reviewed by Peter Howitt  

Operating an HGV is a unique experience that differs greatly from driving a “regular” vehicle, and I’m sure you’re well aware of this fact.

As an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) driver, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of yourself, other road users, and your vehicle. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen, despite the best efforts to prevent them.

Being involved in a crash with a large and potentially dangerous tonne vehicle requires immediate action and a clear understanding of what to do. If you are a professional HGV driver, knowing how to respond correctly in the unfortunate event of an accident is part of your responsibility.

If you are involved in an HGV accident, it is crucial to take the right steps to minimise the damage and handle the situation correctly.

Accidents Happen In The Following Situations:

  • When you have caused damage to the road or highway.
  • When you have damaged someone else’s property.
  • When an injury is caused to someone other than yourself.
  • When there is damage to either your vehicle or another vehicle.

If your HGV truck is involved in an accident, here’s what you should do.:

Ensure Safety First: Come to a Safe Stop

The first thing to do when a road accident happens is to stop your HGV slowly and in a safe place.

  • The primary objective is to bring your HGV to a safe stop.
  • If possible, pull over to the left side of the road onto a hard, flat surface. Avoid slopes or soft ground that may hinder stability.
  • In case of significant crashes where stopping is beyond your control, focus on protecting yourself and others from immediate danger.

Check For Injuries:

  • Once you’ve safely come to a stop, assess your own health and well-being.
  • Check for any injuries or pain and determine if you’re trapped or unable to move.
  • Prioritise reaching a safe position and ensure you are not in immediate danger.
  • It’s normal to experience shock after an accident, so take a moment to breathe deeply and try to calm yourself, if possible.

Take Necessary Precautions:

  • If circumstances allow, make your way to a safe stop or an emergency telephone point, especially on motorways. This minimises the need for foot travel and reduces risks.
  • Turn off the engine to lower the potential risk of fire.
  • Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the accident scene.
  • Exit the vehicle from the side that is farthest from oncoming traffic.
  • If parked on a slope, use wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

Ensure Visibility and Safety:

  • Wear a high-visibility vest in a contrasting colour to your HGV livery. It should be bright and reflective to enhance visibility, particularly during night time or poor weather conditions.
  • Position yourself behind barriers or on the verge if you’re on a motorway, ensuring your personal safety. 

Warning Signals to Warn Other Traffic

To ensure the safety of yourself and others, turn on your hazard warning lights and use a red warning triangle to alert approaching traffic to the accident scene.

  • Place a hazard warning triangle approximately 50 meters behind your HGV to warn approaching traffic about the accident.
  • If you find yourself on a blind corner, it’s advisable to place an additional hazard warning triangle in front of your vehicle.
  • Note that hazard warning triangles should not be used on motorways.

Avoid Admitting Liability:

It’s crucial to refrain from accepting responsibility for the accident, regardless of the circumstances. Admitting fault can have legal implications and may affect any insurance claims or legal proceedings that follow.

Stay Calm and Composed:

Maintaining a level-headed approach is important after an accident. Stay calm and keep your emotions in check. This will help you handle the situation more effectively and avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

Notify The Client Immediately:

Inform them about the accident promptly and follow any specific instructions. Keeping them informed helps manage expectations and allows them to make necessary arrangements.

Inform Your Local ADR Network Branch Office Immediately:

Report the accident to your local ADR Network branch office after you have informed our client. ADR Network needs to be aware of the situation and may provide further guidance on how to proceed, and potentially make alternative arrangements for any further assignments.

A guide to handling Road Accidents  as a lorry driver.

Medical Assistance:

  • If you or anyone involved in the accident is injured, in pain, or uncertain about their injuries, it’s essential not to attempt to move them unless assessed by emergency healthcare professionals.
  • Only consider moving someone if there is an immediate threat to life, such as fire, fuel leakage, oncoming traffic, or a dangerous load.

Notify The Police:

  • If required, and in consultation with the client you are driving for, call the police and report the accident.
  • The police will attend the scene, assess the situation, and create an official report, which can be helpful in case of insurance claims or legal proceedings.

Exchange Details With The Other Parties Involved:

  • Get the details of the other parties involved in the accident, such as their name, contact information, insurance details, and license plate number.
  • It’s also important to take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved, as well as the surrounding area.

Gathering Information:

When involved in an accident, you are required to provide your name and address. However, avoid admitting liability. If the police ask you direct questions about the cause of the accident, take a moment to gather your thoughts before providing a clear account of the events.

If possible, gather the following information from other parties involved:

  • Names and addresses of the drivers or vehicle owners.
  • Registration numbers of all vehicles involved.
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses present.
  • Identification of any police officers at the scene.
  • Insurance details of the other vehicles involved.

Take note of the following accident details:

  • Description of the damage caused.
  • Pre-existing damage or defects on the vehicles.
  • Registration numbers and makes of all vehicles involved.
  • Condition of the tires.
  • Vehicle speed.
  • Signal usage by the vehicles.
  • Injuries sustained by drivers or passengers.
  • Positions of vehicles, road width, road markings, and traffic signs.
  • Consider sketching to visually represent these details.

Recording Personal Information:

Make sure to record the following information about yourself and your vehicle:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of passing the driving test
  • Vehicle registration
  • Trailer number (if applicable)
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • The speed at the time of the accident
  • Were you signalling?
  • Did you sound the horn?
  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Weather conditions
  • Street lighting availability
  • Are any witnesses present?
  • Create a sketch including road markings, signs, measurements, and vehicle positions.

Get Witness Statements:

  • If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their details and ask them to provide a statement of what they saw.
  • Their testimony can be valuable in case of a dispute or insurance claim.

Remember, being involved in an accident can be a distressing experience, but knowing the right steps to take can help navigate through the situation more effectively.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you fulfil your legal obligations, gather necessary information, and report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Stay calm, focused, and prioritise the safety of yourself and the others involved.

Any Questions? Get In Touch With Us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and find it helpful. If you have any questions or are looking for HGV driving work, please do not hesitate to contact us, our team is here to help.

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