Did you know that every single day, five bridge strikes happen in the UK, with more than 40 per cent of drivers admitting they don’t know the size of their vehicle?
Recent figures from Network Rail have revealed that 1,800 incidents involving HGVs occur each year, costing millions of pounds in damage and delays. The research showed that while just under half of lorry drivers fail to check the height of their vehicle, 52 per cent admit to not taking low bridges into account when planning their route.
The rail provider estimates that each incident costs up to £13,500, including bridge repairs and compensation paid to operators, which adds up to almost £13 million per year. When you add the value of undelivered goods and loss of productivity, the cost of bridge strikes can rise as high as £23 million per year.
Aside from causing a serious accident, drivers are at risk of losing their licence. While Network Rail is urging van and truck drivers to "wise up and size up" their vehicle, Challenge TRG Group is on hand to help you understand your vehicle’s measurements and how to plan your journey correctly to avoid low bridges.
Here are our top tips of things to consider before setting off:
· Are you fit to drive? Make sure you’re able to drive safely – alcohol, drugs, medication, injuries, tiredness and your mood can all affect your driving.
· Keep things clear. Make sure you have your eyes tested at least every two years – if your eyesight’s not up to the required standard then you’ll be driving illegally.
· Be aware of the rules. As you know, European Union (EU) rules limit you to driving for 9 hours in any 24-hour period, although this may be extended to 10 hours twice a week. Weekly driving mustn’t be more than 56 hours and fortnightly driving mustn’t be more than 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks. Work with us to keep tabs on your driving hours.
· Plan breaks and rest periods. Under the EU rules, you need to ensure you’re taking breaks of at least 45 minutes in total during, or after, 4.5 hours of driving. Don’t forget you can split this break into two. What’s more, you need to rest from driving for 11 hours each day, so make sure you plan these into your journey and you’re up-to-speed with logging these on the tachograph.
· Secure your load. Think about: what’s the load; is the vehicle right to carry it; is the load stable; and does it have the correct restraints.
· Is the vehicle in good working order – check the oil, coolant, tyres, windscreen, battery, lights, horn, controls, mirrors, seat belts and brakes.
· And finally, make sure all licences, V5C, tax, driver qualification card, annual test and insurance are all up-to-date.
If you’d like to find out more, contact us today.