Having a road traffic accident is traumatic at the best of times, but in the case of HGV accidents, the situation can be both particularly frightening and detrimental.
The sheer weight and size of HGVs and lorries means vehicle collisions involving them tend to inflict much greater damage to other vehicles involved. Injuries to drivers and passengers; cyclists or pedestrians are also typically much more severe than those sustained in other road accidents.
Common causes of HGV accidents
Common causes of HGV accidents on the road include, but is not limited to:
- Badly loaded vehicles
- Bridge Strikes
- High Winds
- Poor condition of vehicles
- Mobile phone usage while driving
- Failure to assess situations correctly by not looking properly
Many thousands of serious, and often tragically fatal, HGV accidents , have been caused by fatigue.
HGV accidents and fatigue
The likelihood of traffic accidents being caused by fatigued drivers is significantly increased between the hours of 02:00 and 06:00, and 14:00 and 16:00, in particular after drivers have eaten or taken even a single alcoholic drink.
Long working hours, lack of or disturbed sleep and some forms of medication are all additional factors, which can increase the risk of HGV accidents.
Season-specific risks include the cosy temperature created by HGV heating, during spells of cold weather, or indeed by poor weather conditions. Wiper motion and whirling snowflakes can have a hypnotic effect on drivers.
It is important to remember that HGV drivers spend a long time on the road, and it has been known for the mind to go into shut down, especially so on long journeys along monotonous roads, such as motorways. What’s more, due to driving over long distances and over night, HGV drivers are at particular risk of experiencing fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel.
Most HGV and car accidents caused by fatigue can be prevented by:
- Taking regular breaks and having a non-alcoholic beverage and/or a snack
- Eating only light meals before embarking on long journeys
- Never drinking alcohol before driving
- Not underestimating the extent of your fatigue and, if necessary, pulling over in a safe location and taking a nap
- Employers enforcing restrictions on permissible hours of driving
In the case that you have been prescribed medication that is likely to make you drowsy, you should speak with your employer and, where possible, put a contingency plan in place so you can avoid driving. If this is not possible, be extra careful and take a break when you first notice any fatigue symptoms.
Injuries caused by fatigue
If you have sustained a passenger or driver injury because another driver fell asleep, you may be eligible to claim for compensation.
Give us a call today on 0800 689 0500 to speak to one of our Accident Advice Helpline advisers. There’s no pressure to pursue your claim following this free initial consultation.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice