•  Braking distance is more than twice as long in a HGV than your average car
  •  HGV experts Driver Hire give the do’s and don’ts of motorway driving around trucks

HGVs are the backbone of Britain, shifting over 1 billion tonnes of goods to businesses across the UK every year[1] . However, lack of driver awareness around HGVs can lead to reduced safety on motorways as cars put themselves in hazardous situations. HGV specialists Driver Hire provide vital knowledge on HGVs to keep Brits safer when driving on motorways.

HGV experts give tips on motorway driving

“HGV drivers are required to complete 35 hours of training every five years in order to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC),” says Richard Owen-Hughes, Group Marketing Director at Driver Hire Training.

“HGV drivers have a high level of training in preventing and anticipating road hazards, however, the general public can also help to keep everyone safe by being aware of the differences between HGVs and cars. This will help them to navigate motorways and understand some of the potential hazards that these professional drivers face.”

1. Be aware of braking distances

Due to their larger size and weight, a HGV takes up to 50% longer to stop when a driver brakes. Also, the faster a vehicle is going, the longer it takes to come to a stop. This means that when you are overtaking a HGV, you should always make sure to come back into the inside lane with ample space between you and the truck, in case you then need to brake due to traffic or an emergency. When it’s dry and clear this should be at least a two second gap.

One dangerous motorway habit sees drivers overtake trucks in order to get to an upcoming exit quicker, and then pull back in front across the HGV to make it off the exit. This is dangerous as the HGV driver will often have to brake hard in order to match your speed as you prepare to leave the motorway. This can cause accidents as the driver might not see you cut in front, or might not have time to slow down, and could cause a collision from behind.

2. Stay Sharp in Bad Weather

Like standard vehicles, in adverse road conditions such as heavy rain, the braking time for HGVs is much larger, doubling the distance it takes for the driver to brake. So in bad weather, take even more care overtaking and manoeuvring around HGVs, assuming that if your visibility is poor, theirs will be too. With the size of the trucks a considerable amount of spray can come off the wheels in rainy conditions, so be aware of this water onto your windscreen as you approach.

3. Don’t ignore blind spots

Unlike cars, which only have two blind spots, HGVs have four, considerably larger, blind spots. This is due to the size of the vehicle and the height of the cabin. HGV blind spots are at both sides, the rear, and the front of the truck. Knowing the locations of these blind spots and taking into consideration that the driver may be unaware of manoeuvring in these areas will help you to stay safe when driving near a HGV on the motorway. Avoid coasting in these blind spots, overtaking efficiently and leaving plenty of space between the vehicles. When driving behind a HGV, be aware that if you can’t see the HGV’s rear view mirrors, the driver cannot see you. Many trucks will display ‘Angles Morts’ stickers to highlight the areas of their blind spots – this has been a legal requirement for vehicles above 3.5 tonnes travelling in France since 2021.

4. Learn your Speed Limits

Another consideration to be aware of is that HGVs have different speed limits and restrictions to cars, and this changes depending on the load. For example, HGVs over 7.5 tonnes of weight have a maximum speed of 60mph on motorways in England and Wales, but the limit for these vehicles is 50 in Scotland. For lorries under 7.5 tonnes (not towing or articulated) the motorway limit is 70. . These variations can catch other drivers off guard if they don’t know the rules, especially when HGVs look to overtake slower vehicles by moving into lane 2. By being aware of the fluctuation of speeds HGVs can travel at, you can stay safer driving around them.

Source: gov uk