Rural communities are fighting an ongoing battle with HGVs as many drivers are relying on their satnavs rather than their common sense.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, has said that councils urgently need tougher powers to take action against HGV drivers that don’t heed road sign warnings. Rural councils in particular are struggling when drivers rely on their satnav instructions rather than maps and road signs.
There have been many cases recently where lorries have become stuck on roads that are far too small or have restrictions that the satnav can’t pick up. For example, a lorry was stuck for three days when it was driven down a narrow country lane near Plymouth. The driver had to sleep in his cab until a tractor was able to tow the vehicle.
Another driver caused £115,000 worth of damage when he got stuck in a narrow lane near Colchester in Essex. He failed to take notice of the warning signs telling him to ignore his satnav.
HGVs in unusual places also lead to an increase in road traffic accidents as car drivers and cyclists often do not expect a 40 tonne lorry on a narrow rural track. There have been cases of lorries on narrow lanes involved in head on collisions with cars after ignoring weight and width restrictions, often due to their satnav’s directions.
Chris Grayling, the Commons Leader, has said that companies must take a “smart approach” in the future when planning routes for drivers. When discussing the haulage industry and satnavs he said, “I suspect due to a dependence on satnav, there's a propensity for unsuitable vehicles to pass up roads which simply aren't wide enough for them. And I would encourage all of those organisations - the haulage firms, the major supermarkets and others that have logistics operations - to make sure that their drivers do take a smart approach to planning where they're going to go and don't just simply follow the sat nav.”
There may be a way forward for HGV drivers with new technology. Satnavs have been developed that include the lorry’s weight, dimensions, and permitted speeds. Any routes that are planned then take these details into account and will avoid winding narrow lanes, low bridges, tight corners, and weight restrictions. Sadly, no matter how carefully vehicles are driven, with or without a satnav, sometimes there are accidents. If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault Slater and Gordon’s No Win, No Fee Solicitors can help you to claim compensation. Call us for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.
Have you ever come into contact with a lorry being driven down a small, narrow road? Share your experience in the comment section below.