‘Don’t panic’ when you see a lorry, says road safety charity

Lorry advice

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is urging motorists not to panic if they’re driving in front of, or even behind, a large lorry.

Richard Gladman, head of riding and driving standards at IAM RoadSmart, has come up with seven tips designed to make it easier for drivers who are daunted by the sight of an HGV on the road.

“As any HGV driver will tell you, they sometimes need a bit of extra space to move down the road. Visibility can be restricted, and no amount of mirrors will allow all of the blind spots to be monitored all of the time,” he said.

“By applying some simple rules and sharing the road space, we can make life easier for all of us. On a roundabout they will need more than one lane so let them have it; a few seconds delay will be worth it if you prevent a crash. Walk that mile in the other man’s shoes and understand what we may need.”

lorry on uk roads

His seven top tips are as follows:

  1. If you see a lorry wearing foreign number plates, remember that the driver is probably sitting on the left of the vehicle. With this in mind, take care when passing and allow more space if you can.
  2. An HGV driver could have up to five mirrors at their disposal, but they can only look at one at a time. Hold back until you are visible in their mirrors.
  3. Identify when there is a likelihood of the HGV changing lanes, for example at a slip road or when they are approaching another slow-moving HGV. Hang back and allow them to pull into their desired lane.
  4. To minimise the effects of heavy spray, maintain a safe distance between you and the lorry. The Highway Code suggests leaving a gap of at least four seconds in the rain.
  5. An articulated lorry will track sideways on a right-hand bend on the motorway and on a roundabout, so avoid being beside it.
  6. If you encounter queuing traffic and there’s a lorry behind you, tap your brake lights early to warn the driver that you’re about to slow down.
  7. If an HGV wishes to return to the inside lane, give them a hand by slowing down and letting them in. A courtesy flash of the headlights could be used to indicate that they’re clear of your vehicle.
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