How to overtake

lorries safely

Lorry on road, traffic

ROAD safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is supporting a new National Highways HGV blind spot safety campaign which aims to improve safety when overtaking lorries.

Lorry drivers have four areas of limited visibility, located at the front, rear and each side of their vehicle.

Although a lorry's line-up of extra mirrors and sensors can vastly improve driver visibility, they cannot eliminate blind spots altogether.

This means a lorry driver won't know if someone is immediately behind and could easily miss an overtaking car driver in the blind spot below the cab.

A recent survey commissioned by National Highways showed that, while nearly three quarters of drivers said they take extra care when overtaking a lorry, 36 per cent said they did not know how many blind spots a HGV had.

GEM road safety adviser James Luckhurst said: "We all have a responsibility to use the roads safely. By understanding the difficulties faced by lorry drivers - particularly in terms of their restricted view of other vehicles - we can play our part in reducing collisions, improving safety for all."

If you decide to overtake GEM recommends to use the following checklist:

1. Know the lorry's ‘zones' of limited visibility. Keep out of the driver's blind spots and position yourself so that you can be seen easily.

2. Leave plenty of space between you and a lorry in front. The extra weight of a lorry means its stopping distances could be 50 per cent more than a car's.

3. Lorries are restricted to 50mph on single carriageway roads and 60mph on motorways and dual carriageway, so be patient and adjust your speed accordingly.

4. If planning to overtake a lorry, consider that it will be several times longer than your car, so be absolutely sure you have enough time and space to complete the manoeuvre in safety. Drop back initially, for a better view ahead.

5. When overtaking, avoid driving in a blind spot danger zone for longer than necessary.

6. Be extra careful around left-hand drive trucks, as they have different blind spots which means their view of the road is even more limited.

7. At the end of your overtaking manoeuvre, move left carefully. Don't cut back in too suddenly as this could cause the lorry driver to brake hard.

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