Due to their presence on the roads, hardworking lorry drivers who travel the length and breadth of the country doing delivery work are often, and quite unfairly, at the receiving end of complaints from other motorists. But there are most definitely two sides to every penny and here, in the interest of fairness (and putting the record straight), we turn the tables and shine a light on the issues that cause headaches for lorry drivers who share the road with "bad" car drivers.
The average lorry driver will spend more time behind the wheel than almost any other road user. So, it stands to reason that there's bound to be some kind of pattern when it comes to the issues that they face. In no particular order, here are five of the most talked about problems amongst the delivery work community – aka, they just wish car drivers wouldn't keep causing these issues! And, far from being an excuse to have a whinge, they all have serious ramifications for safety.
This problem quite often comes down to a car driver not understanding that driving a HGV is very different to driving a car. When a car driver makes a last minute dash to merge into traffic or pull out of a junction in front of a truck, many don’t realise that, due to their weight and often heavy loads, a HGV is unable to brake as quickly or dynamically as a car. If the brakes need to be applied in a hurry (to compensate for a motorist pulling out) the load effectively pushes the truck forward, creating the very real potential for an accident.
Rally Driver Overtaking
When a car passes a HGV and then doesn't allow enough room in front before pulling back into the left lane, it can cause similar issues to those above. If the lorry is forced to brake due to the proximity of the car in front, it’s not only problematic for the traffic behind (which is quite often other lorries), but it also makes it difficult for them to get back up to speed. Motorists need to ensure they are well beyond the overtaken vehicle before they pull back in.
Failure To Indicate On Roundabouts
Although roundabouts are designed to assist the flow of traffic, they can lead to disaster unless everyone plays by the rules (and unfortunately they don’t). When a lorry driver believes that he/she has the right of way to enter a roundabout, and then has to brake due to a car having failed to indicate their intention correctly, it can cause a collision, as their weight will drive them forward when the brakes are applied. On the flip side, many HGV drivers are simply not willing to take the risk of car drivers indicating incorrectly, which can lead to traffic hold-ups.
Double parked cars on narrow urban or country roads quite often prevent lorry drivers from being able to do their delivery work. If cars are parked (illegally) on either side of a street, it not only prevents HGVs from navigating through, but it can also hamper emergency services, such as large fire engines.
Irresponsible Driving On Country Roads
Some motorists get out of the city and appear to lose all common sense. Just because it's a so-called "quiet" country road, that isn't a licence to overtake on blind corners or tailgate HGVs. Clearly, it's more difficult to see past a lorry on a winding or narrow road, and some car drivers put themselves and on-going traffic in grave danger by taking foolish and unnecessary chances when choosing to overtake.
Safety, Courtesy, Responsibility
In the end, the roads belong to all users, whether it's a lorry driver doing delivery work or a teenager driving their mates to a party. There'll probably always be a touch of the argy bargy about who's most at fault when it comes to driving etiquette, but simply understanding both sides of the story is an education in itself.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.