Do You Know The HGV Blind Spots?
Written by Jessie Lee & Reviewed by Peter Howitt
Blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks can pose significant dangers for road users in the UK.
According to a report by the Department for Transport, there were 480 reported accidents involving HGVs and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, in 2019, resulting in 467 casualties and 44 fatalities.
Many of these accidents were caused by blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks, which can make it difficult for drivers to see other road users, particularly when turning or changing lanes.
Real-life examples of accidents caused by blind spots on HGV trucks include the death of cyclist Ying Tao in 2015, who was hit by a turning lorry in London, and the death of pedestrian Michael Beard in 2016, who was hit by a lorry in Birmingham.
These statistics and examples highlight the need for effective mitigation strategies to reduce the risks and dangers posed by blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks in the UK.
In this blog post, we will examine the various blind spots present on HGV trucks, analyse the risks associated with each blind spot, and explore potential strategies for mitigating these risks.
Our goal here is to make road users aware of the HGV blind spots so that everyone knows how to be careful when driving around the HGV truck and stay safe on the road.
So, read on to find out more.
Blind Spots and Limited Visibility Zones on HGV Vehicles
Blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV vehicles can vary in size and location depending on the type of vehicle and the position of the driver.
The most common blind spots are located on the sides and rear of the truck, where drivers have limited visibility due to the size and shape of the vehicle. Blind spots on HGV trucks can be divided into several categories:
1: Side Blind Spots
These blind spots are located on the sides of the truck and can extend up to 3 lanes in width. They can be particularly dangerous when a driver is turning, changing lanes, or overtaking another vehicle.
2: Rear Blind Spots
The area behind the truck is another common blind spot, which can extend up to 30 meters or more. Drivers may have difficulty seeing other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians who are directly behind the truck.
3: Front Blind Spots
HGV trucks have a high driving position, which can create a blind spot in front of the vehicle, particularly when going up a hill or over a crest. This blind spot can make it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles or road users approaching from the opposite direction.
Studies have shown that an HGV driver may have limited visibility of up to 2 meters from the side of the vehicle and up to 4.5 meters from the rear. Moreover, up to 80% of cyclist fatalities involving HGVs occur when the vehicle is turning left, highlighting the severity of the side blind spot issue.
These statistics demonstrate the need for road users to be aware of the potential dangers posed by HGV blind spots and to take appropriate precautions to avoid them.
The Dangers of Blind Spots and Limited Visibility Zones on HGV Vehicles
Blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks can lead to potential accidents and collisions as they make it difficult for HGV drivers to see other road users.
For example, cyclists and pedestrians can easily be hidden from view in the side and rear blind spots of an HGV truck. This puts them at risk of being struck or run over when the driver is turning, changing lanes, or reversing.
Accidents caused by HGV blind spots can have severe consequences, including injuries, fatalities, and property damage. Injuries resulting from blind spot accidents can be severe, with cyclists and pedestrians particularly vulnerable to serious and life-threatening injuries.
Fatalities resulting from blind spot accidents can occur in various ways, such as when a cyclist or pedestrian is crushed under the wheels of an HGV truck or when another vehicle collides with an HGV in a blind spot.
In addition to the human cost, accidents caused by blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks can result in significant financial costs. Collisions between an HGV truck and other vehicles or property can result in extensive damage and costly repairs.
The impact of an accident may even lead to temporary road closures or disruptions to traffic, causing further inconvenience and delays for road users. It is essential for road users to be aware of the dangers posed by HGV blind spots and take appropriate precautions to avoid accidents and collisions.
10 Practical Tips to Avoid Road Accidents Caused by HGV Blind Spots
- Stay visible: Always try to stay visible to the HGV driver, particularly when approaching or passing the vehicle.
- Avoid overtaking on the left: When passing an HGV, try to overtake on the right to avoid the driver’s left-side blind spot.
- Don’t get too close: Avoid getting too close to an HGV truck as the driver may not be able to see you in their wing mirrors.
- Avoid sudden movements: Avoid sudden movements, such as swerving or braking, when driving near an HGV truck.
- Signal early: Always signal early and clearly when turning or changing lanes near an HGV truck.
- Stay back at junctions: Stay back from the junction when waiting at a red light or stop sign to avoid getting caught in an HGV’s blind spot.
- Watch for turning trucks: Be aware of the potential dangers posed by turning HGV trucks, particularly when cycling or walking near a junction.
- Use designated cycle lanes: When cycling, try to use designated cycle lanes or stay clear of HGV trucks’ blind spots.
- Make eye contact: Try to make eye contact with the HGV driver to ensure they have seen you.
- Be patient: Be patient when driving near an HGV truck and give the driver plenty of space and time to manoeuvre safely.
Blind spots and limited visibility zones on HGV trucks pose significant dangers for road users, particularly cyclists, and pedestrians. Accidents caused by blind spots can have severe consequences, including injuries, fatalities, and property damage.
To mitigate these risks, road users must be aware of the potential dangers posed by HGV blind spots and take appropriate precautions to avoid accidents and collisions.
The ten practical tips discussed in this blog post can help road users stay safe when sharing the road with HGV trucks. By staying visible, avoiding sudden movements, and making eye contact with the HGV driver, road users can help reduce the risks associated with HGV blind spots and ensure safe travel on UK roads.
National Highways Has launched A New Safety Campaign – ‘Know The Zones’
National Highways has launched a new safety campaign early this year called ‘Know The Zones’ to raise awareness of HGV blind spots, which you can visit here to read more – https://nationalhighways.co.uk/road-safety/know-the-zones
The campaign, which is being backed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Logistics UK, aims to educate drivers about the dangers of overtaking HGVs and to encourage them to take extra care when doing so.
The campaign highlights the fact that HGVs have large blind spots, which can make it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles. These blind spots can be particularly dangerous when overtaking, as drivers may not be able to see a car or van that is trying to pass them.
The campaign provides drivers with a number of tips on how to stay safe when overtaking HGVs. These tips include:
- Only overtake when it is safe to do so.
- Make sure you have a clear view of the road ahead.
- Check your mirrors regularly.
- Signal your intention to overtake well in advance.
- Overtake quickly and safely.
- Do not linger next to an HGV.
The campaign also encourages drivers to be patient when driving behind HGVs. It is important to remember that HGVs have a slower top speed than cars and vans, so it may take them longer to overtake another vehicle.
National Highways is urging all drivers to take the time to learn about HGV blind spots and to drive safely when sharing the road with these vehicles. By following the tips in this campaign, we can all help to prevent accidents and keep our roads safe.
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