HGV drivers told to check their satnav knows they are in a lorry
HGV drivers are being urged to check their satnav knows they are behind the wheel of a lorry – and not a car – in an effort to stop more bridge strikes like the ones that plague Grantham’s Harlaxton Road rail bridge. The Network Rail bridge was once again in a list of most bashed bridges of the last year being hit some 16 times in 12 months.
Maintenance workers at the Harlaxton Road bridge after a lorry stirke. Network Rail say it was the third most struck bridge in the last year
Now new advice is calling on lorry drivers to check their routes more carefully possibly using Google Street View to bring problematic bridges into view and make sure the satnav is in “HGV” mode. The system should then look to avoid low bridges, narrow roads and sharp turns as well as take weight limits into account.
The advice has come from the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain. A statement said: “In addition to the potentially catastrophic road safety issues, there are serious financial implications to these incidences.
“The impact on drivers and operators can also be significant.”
Flashback to 2019 when a lorry hit the Network Rail bridge at Harlaxton Road
It went on: “One of the reasons for these incidences occurring is poor route planning and the reliance on inappropriate satnav systems, which lack commercial functionality to warn the driver of all the critical points on routes. Whilst satnav technology can be employed effectively and efficiently, the devices used must be fit for a commercial role.
Good satnav devices will regularly be updated with up-to-date information on the road network, including height restrictions. “Having suitable satnav equipment is not a substitute for effective route planning, but it may assist the driver to avoid some of these incidences, especially when routes change during a journey.
“The traffic commissioners expect operators and drivers to treat this issue seriously and take responsibility. Any failure to do so could lead to an operator or driver having to appear before a traffic commissioner.”
Lorry drivers are being urged to check their satnav knows their behind the wheel of a HGV
In its list of tips, the top one is making sure a satnav is for a commerical vehicle – not one designed for a car adding: “Planning a route on a device that thinks you are driving a car has too many risks.
Make sure your device is up to date. Roads and maps are constantly changing. It is your responsibility to plan correctly.”
It also calls for satnav training and company-wide policies about how they should be used. Other suggestions include using Google Street View to get a sight of an unfamiliar route or junction, and providing height conversion charts so drivers can quickly establish if their vehicle fits under a low bridge. In the UK in 2020/21 there were 1,624 incidences on the Network Rail infrastructure alone.
According to Network Rail, Harlaxton Road bridge in Grantham was the third most struck railway bridge nationwide over the last year, behind bridges in Needham Market, in Suffolk, and Lichfield, in Staffordshire.
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