Being an HGV driver can be a tough job at times; long hours on the road, tight deadlines, traffic jams and delays, all things to be dealt with while ensuring the precious cargo is delivered safely to its intended destination. Naturally, these things are unavoidable – it’s all part of working on Britain’s roads, and not much can be done to change them. However, most truckers would agree that there’s one thing they would love to change, which is not so ‘set in stone’ and could be changed easily. We’re talking about the behaviour of other road users, or more specifically, behaviours that affect the trucker’s ability to do their job. It is entirely likely that the majority of road users who cause problems for HGV drivers are completely unaware they’ve done anything wrong, so that’s why we’ve written this article: The Top 10 Things Car Drivers Do That Annoy HGV Drivers.
1. Pulling into the safe braking space
It should be common knowledge that heavy goods vehicles require a greater amount of distance to stop. When driving on a motorway or dual-carriageway, you will often notice that HGV drivers leave a large gap between themselves and the vehicle in front. This is to reduce risk should an incident occur ahead, and allows the driver to slow and stop the vehicle quickly and safely if needed. The problem with leaving this much room in front is it becomes all too tempting for other road users to move into. Before you move across in front of a lorry, think: ‘have I left the driver enough room to stop their vehicle in an emergency?’ This point leads seamlessly into No.2
2. Late exiting
The Highway Code rule 272 states that you should ‘move into the left-hand lane well before reaching your exit’. Sadly, it is all too common to see people wait until the last minute to cut across from lane 2 or even 3, straight to the slip road. Consider the previous point about safe braking distances and you can see why this behaviour causes stress for drivers of HGVs. The following video (which may upset some viewers) shows the precise reason why it should not be done.
3. Pulling out of junctions dangerously
While we’re on the subject of safe braking distances, one of the most terrifying experiences that occur daily for lorry drivers is cars pulling out of junctions in front of them. It can be tempting to try and ‘beat the truck’ when exiting a junction, however, consider this: if you stall or lose grip as you pull away, or cross the junction half-way and find your road ahead blocked, you leave the truck driver very little chance of stopping in time. Also, even if the truck is able to stop in time, it is possible that the load being carried may have been damaged by the sudden braking. Always leave plenty of time and space when crossing the path of an HGV, and make sure you have properly checked all around before moving off.
4. Not sharing lay-bys
Lorry drivers hours are strictly regulated, and they must take a break after 4.5 hours of driving. When an HGV driver gets near to this time, they will look for somewhere they can stop safely and legally to take their break. An ideal place for this is a lay-by, but often as drivers approach they find a car or van parked right in the middle of the lay-by. When parking in a lay-by, if possible, pull as far forward as possible. This leaves the maximum amount of space for large vehicles to park behind. If a vehicle in front of you moves, move forward as far as possible. Remember that once an HGV driver has started a break, they cannot move the vehicle.