Six Ways to be a Good Van & HGV Driver
When we think of etiquette, nice tables manners spring to mind. But etiquette extends to all walks of life. We asked our friends at TruckNet what annoys them the most when they’re on the road and what they consider to be vital road etiquette.
Stay in your own lane
“People that pull out on you and cause you to slow down or even stop despite there being nothing whatsoever behind you.”
Lane changes, especially in poor weather conditions, can be one of the most dangerous manoeuvres you can perform on the roads.
Always ensure you check around you before you move your van or truck into a different lane. Act sensibly and make sure that the roads are safe before changing lanes.
Consider the safety of others on the road. By pulling out into the pathway of other drivers you will not only force them to slam on their brakes on, but possibly endanger yourself and others.
Give other drivers plenty of room
“Tailgating by lorries is a bugbear of mine… I can’t understand why people tailgate in traffic when you can’t go anywhere… it’s pointless and I can’t figure out why you would want to jam yourself right up to the lorry in front.”
We get it, we’re all in a hurry, but driving right behind someone is never the solution to being stuck in traffic. It is very important that all drivers maintain a safe distance between one another on the roads to ensure you have adequate room not just to see but also to be able to stop safely.
It takes a vehicle travelling at 60mph 240 feet to come to a safe stop. That is the equivalent of 18 car lengths. If there isn’t 240 feet between you and the vehicle in front and you have to brake suddenly, you will crash.
Tailgating or closely following a vehicle is not just dangerous and annoying but also highly illegal. If you are deemed to be driving too close to a vehicle in front, the police may pull you over and not just issue you a ticket but also arrest you. Is it really worth it? No.
Always signal correctly
“My biggest annoyance is lack of or incorrect signaling on roundabouts. Things have gotten so bad now… I find myself waving thanks to people who have indicated well and allowed me to make or maintain progress.”
Correct signaling is basic driving. In fact, it’s one of the first lessons you’re taught when you get behind the wheel… However, far too many drivers in the UK overlook it when needed.
Your fellow road users are not magicians. They have no way of knowing what you intend to do next. All you can do is rely on them having lightning reflexes when you decide to turn right without warning.
Take away the mystery of your next manoeuvre by indicating correctly. Highways England recommend the Four Flash Rule, giving others time to react.
It reduces the risk of collision and guarantees that other road users know exactly what you intend to do.
Watch your speed and drive accordingly
“Truck drivers that absolutely refuse to do any less that 56mph on motorways, weaving in and out of the lanes even at peak times where the gains in doing so are absolutely negligible.”
Just because it’s the speed limit, doesn’t mean that you have to match it. Always be aware of your speed when you’re driving. If traffic is heavy or the weather is poor, drive at a speed which is appropriate.
If this means going below the speed limit, so be it. If other drivers are below the limit, that is probably an indication that you should be as well. It is not an invitation to weave through traffic going as fast as possible.
Think of others
“Good etiquette is shown by two road users who appreciate the struggles both face when they meet and compromise.”
Manners cost nothing and having a little courtesy towards other road users goes a very long way.
Always be mindful of other drivers when on the road. That doesn’t necessarily mean letting in the entire driving population of Wales at a junction. It can just mean indicating correctly, not undercutting other road users and being aware of the fact that you’re not the only vehicle on the road.
If everyone behaves that way, the roads would be a far more pleasant and a far safer place.
Don’t bully other road users
“Those who give the rest of us a bad name by bullying tactics.”
No one likes a bully, especially not on the road.
When you don’t like another person’s driving, safely and carefully manoeuvre out of the way and continue your journey in peace. Because you’re irritated, that is no excuse to bully your way into traffic, speed up behind them, hurl abuse at other drivers or just be a bit of an idiot.
Keep your opinions to yourself and lead by example.