You know, it’s not just those horrible, dark and cold winter mornings that give cause for concern when it comes to road safety in your HGV. Yes, they might present challenges from icy roads, patchy fog and poor visibility, but when it comes to the really hazardous months, data presented last year from Smart Witness suggested that it was in fact the summer months when HGV drivers, as well as other motorists, were more likely to be involved in an accident.
Now, safe driving is a matter of imperative whatever the season, and there’s always an element of risk when you take to wheel of any vehicle in any conditions. Nevertheless, the data did suggest that it is in the summer when accidents increase, to the tune of around 27%.
So what is it about summer driving that creates this elevated risk?
You don’t me to tell you that, for the average HGV driver, you can experience busy, blocked up roads at any time of the year. When rush hour strikes, many a motorway slows right down.
However, during the summer months the roads remain busy but there’s another kind of motorist often thrown into the mix. These are the holiday months and the time of year that families are away on holidays, making their way to airports or the docks, out on day trips and family outings or to other parts of the country unfamiliar to them.
According to SmartWitness, this tends to peak around about the time of the beginning of the school summer holidays.
Holiday traffic can throw up a couple of anomalies for road safety. If you’re travelling to parts you’re not familiar with then there is the potential to make a mistake in driving – looking at signposts, listening the GPS perhaps. Similarly, there is the potential for drivers to be on the motorway who are not especially used to driving upon them. During non-school holiday periods, the majority of motorway users might be business related – from HGV drivers, couriers or even your regional sales reps.
People accustomed to motorway driving, used to the ebbs and flows of that kind of traffic.
If there is an influx of holiday drivers less used to this environment, then in periods of heavy congestion is there perhaps the possibility of nervousness, especially around a large number of HGVs?
Let’s Drive Safely
Plan Your Journey
Summer driving, as with all other seasons, can be made a lot easier through effective planning. Setting off early can ensure you beat the traffic while driving in cooler and considerably quieter conditions. Later in the day and the roads can get busy and, even in the UK, the temperatures can soar.
The Glare of the Sun
British summers may have a reputation for cloud and rain, but we do have our sunny moments as well. Driving east early in the morning or west later in the evening can have the sun directly in your line of vision. Be aware of this and the risk to visibility.
And get your sunglasses out.
We all know the importance of keeping a safe distance on the road. As an experienced HGV driver you’ll know that this is crucial at any time of the year. But if there are drivers on the motorways in summertime with less experience and there on their holidays, then maybe additional attention to the distances you keep is safe option. You can’t control other people’s errors, but you can control your own safety.