7 rules for driving around trucks and HGVs

By Ali Sykes
24 Oct, 2023

Road safety statistics tell us that driving around trucks and HGVs (heavy goods vehicle) is becoming a problem. So it’s time for us to get serious with you.

Large trucks were involved in over 117k crashes resulting in an injury in 2021. What’s more, in the same year, 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes – a 49% increase in the last ten years.

While logistics providers and distribution companies do all they can to ensure road safety and with world-class training, high-end vehicles, and deeply organised scheduling, there are ways that all road users can help to lower these shocking stats.

First, let’s look at how the logistics industry is held accountable.

Why health and safety should be the top priority for logistics providers

Driving a truck or HGV is hard. The UK is full of narrow and congested roads making them difficult to navigate. We’re also subject to varying weather conditions which make driving from one hour to the next a challenge sometimes.

Specialised skills are needed to drive trucks in the UK. An in depth knowledge of our vehicles is required by drivers and training in load management to ensure trucks are secured and balanced is vital.

Here are some reasons why logistics providers need to promote accurate driving and prioritise health and safety:

Strict regulations:

HGV drivers in the UK are subject to strict regulations regarding driving hours, rest breaks, and vehicle maintenance. These regulations are designed to promote road safety and prevent driver fatigue, but they can also add complexity to the job of driving an HGV.

Employee safety:

Safe driving practices are crucial to ensuring the wellbeing of drivers and other employees. Logistics providers must make efforts to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, which can have significant financial and human costs.

Cost reduction:

Accidents and safety incidents can be expensive, resulting in damage to vehicles, goods, and property, as well as potential legal and insurance costs. By promoting safe driving and a strong safety culture, logistics providers can reduce the likelihood of accidents and lower their overall operating costs.

Social responsibility:

Logistics providers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate. By promoting safe driving and health and safety, they can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility.

Premier Logistics boss Lee Christopher in an orange jacket standing in front of an orange Premier Logistics truck with white cab

Ways all drivers can help reduce accidents on the road

While us logistics providers and truck and HGV drivers go above and beyond to minimise the risk of road accidents and fatalities, the average road user must hold themselves accountable too.

We want to see all road users – of vehicles large and small – working together, considering each other, being courteous, and respecting each other on their journeys.

When general road users and truck drivers can be friends, the roads will be much safer.

Here are seven rules to follow to ensure yours and our drivers’ safety when driving around trucks and HGVs:

1. Maintain a safe following distance

Trucks are heavy. Therefore, they require more time and space to stop than passenger vehicles. Maintain a safe following distance when driving behind a truck or lorry, so you have enough time to react if the truck needs to stop or slow down.

2. Avoid blind spots

Trucks and lorries have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles, so it’s important to avoid driving in these areas. A truck’s blind spots are typically located on the sides, directly in front of, and directly behind the truck. If you can’t see the truck driver in their side mirrors, they likely can’t see you.

3. Use signals properly

Always use your turn signals when changing lanes or merging when you’re around trucks. This helps the truck driver anticipate your movements and adjust their driving accordingly. Quickly nipping in front of truck drivers because you’re in the wrong lane approaching a roundabout is a big no-no. This can cause serious road accidents that drivers may be unable to stop.

4. Pass safely

When passing a truck, make sure you can see the entire front of the truck in your rear view mirror before merging back into the lane in front of the truck.

5. Give trucks space to manoeuvre

Trucks and lorries often need extra space to make turns, change lanes, and merge onto the motorway. Be aware of this and give them the space they need to manoeuvre safely. It may inconvenience you on your journey a little, but remember, these drivers are trying to get goods to customers – you’ve likely ordered something that has travelled in such a truck yourself.

6. Be patient

Trucks and lorries tend to be slower than passenger vehicles, especially when going uphill and when carrying heavy loads. Be patient and avoid tailgating or making aggressive manoeuvres around trucks. Truck drivers are people too and they’re just trying to do their jobs safely.

7. Watch for wide turns

Trucks and lorries often need to make wide turns, so be cautious when you see a truck signalling for a turn. Avoid trying to squeeze between the truck and the curb, as the truck may need to swing wide to complete the turn safely.

Conclusion

By following these tips when driving around trucks and HGVs, you can help ensure the safety of both yourself and truck drivers, and contribute to a more courteous and respectful driving environment.

Promoting safe driving and prioritising health and safety is the job of logistics providers. But with you on their side, they’re better equipped to avoid accidents.