Know the zones: National Highways launches new campaign
Here at Intack Self Drive, we’ve been providing our customers with some of the very best deals on van hire, car hire and minibus hire in the UK. We like to keep all of our customers up to date with all the latest road safety information, so that you can stay safe on the roads, whether you’re driving your own vehicle or one of ours. Now, in that spirit, National Highways has recently launched a scheme to promote awareness around the limited visibility zones around HGVs to help average drivers better understand the risks associated with driving too closely to them. So, do you know the zones?
What are the limited visibility zones on HGVs?
You don’t need specialist expertise to know that particularly large vehicles like lorries possess larger blind spots than smaller cars, which make it more difficult for the drivers of them to see what’s around them. So, there are four different zones to keep in mind if you’re ever attempting to overtake a HGV.
- The front zone – HGV drivers tend to sit very high up since the cab is high up from the road, and as a result, they might not be able to see a car that’s right in front of them. If you find yourself in a position where an HGV is right behind you, try and put a distance of at least two car lengths between you for your own safety.
- The right and left zones – it’s best to never hang around either side of a HGV or lorry, as each side is essentially an extended blind spot where the diver won’t have any idea what’s around them. If you’re beside one, it’s best to overtake it or drop back, depending on how fast it’s going.
- The rear zone – the length of an HGV means that the wing mirrors can only extend the driver’s vision back to a certain extent. That means if you’re driving too closely behind an HGV, you will not be visible to the driver (lots of them have stickers warning you of exactly that). There’s also a good chance you won’t be able to see the road ahead yourself, which leaves you vulnerable to any sudden braking up ahead. So, when following an HGV, it’s best to stay at least 3 car lengths away from to so you can better see the road ahead and assess when is the best time to overtake.
Why is it so difficult for HGV drivers to see?
From the average drivers’ perspective, it’s difficult to put yourself in the shoes of an HGV driver to imagine what it’s like for them on the road. However, trying to imagine things from their perspective might help you understand the dangers posed by the zones of limited visibility. There are lots of minute differences, some more important than others, but the big ones are awareness and braking distance. Specifically:
- HGVs are tough to drive - the environment within and outside the cab of your average HGV makes it extremely difficult to keep track of everything going on outside the vehicle. They rely on a lot more mirrors and technology than average drivers, and consequently have to work harder to keep themselves up to date on where everyone is all the time.
- Increased braking distance - when compared to your average car, the braking distance of HGVs is far bigger due to the weight and length of the vehicle. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when you’re moving to overtake one, as rejoining the lane too closely to the HGV could cause a collision if you’re forced to brake suddenly for whatever reason.
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