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Awareness Of Other Road Users

Taking that extra second to double check, to take another look, can mean the difference between an accident happening, or not happening. It's all about awareness of what other road users around you are doing. That may include cars, motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. What's pretty certain is that the vast majority of them know nothing about driving a commercial vehicle. So you've got to make allowances for them. It's all stuff you do every day, but an occasional reminder never does any harm.

Motorcyclists account for about 1% of licensed vehicles in the UK. However their drivers account for one in five road deaths and serious injuries.

•  Think bike! In nearly half of accidents involving motorbikes, drivers of other vehicles had failed to look properly when pulling out of a junction

•  Don't underestimate speed. The Transport Research Laboratory suggests that even when a   driver has seen a motorcyclist approaching the junction they underestimate the speed of travel

Fit to drive
A few general points that can help prevent an accident:
• Fatigue causes more accidents than drink-driving. Don't drive if you're tired
• Easier said than done - but try to avoid stress. Don't let the antics of other road users get to you. Stay calm and concentrate on your driving
• Always drink sensibly. If you're socialising the night before you're due to drive, remember the alcohol you drink could still be in your system the morning after

Be aware that today’s EU compliant mirror packs are larger than before and mean some side vision can be lost.

Tests conducted by ‘Commercial Motor’ showed that when approaching a junction the driver lost sight of an approaching van and a motorcyclist for a period long enough to cause an accident. To gain a clear view of what is approaching you may need to move in your seat.

Cycling has become an increasingly popular way to commute. Handy ‘cycle lanes’ enable riders to pass queuing traffic on the left at junctions. But this is one of the places where things can get nasty.

• Half of all fatal collisions involving bikes and trucks occur when trucks are turning left at junctions

• Whilst cyclists can be to blame, truck drivers can do their bit to  make life a little safer. So double check your blind side mirrors before you turn left

• Don't overtake a cyclist before turning across their path - they may be going faster than you think

• Turbulence caused by your vehicle can be dangerous. When overtaking a cyclist on the open road give them plenty of room - at least a metre

Overtaking other vehicles
If you're pulling out into the middle lane on a motorway, use your wide angle mirrors to check there's nothing approaching from behind, especially when they are swapping from the fast lane to the middle lane. This is, apparently, when most motorway shunts occur.

Pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable road users. Always be aware of children, older and disabled people, particularly in crowded shopping streets and residential areas. Use caution when passing parked vehicles, especially ice cream vans where children may run into the road without looking.

• Before setting off, check your mirrors to ensure you've got good vision    down both sides of the trailer when going forward and when turning
• Be aware of blind spots
• Use your mirrors frequently so you always know what's happening around you

Above all, always remember ‘mirror, signal and then manoeuvre’. Making that final observation can make the difference between having an accident or avoiding one.



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