HGV driver says 'amateur' motorists are dangerous - this is what you're doing wrong

An HGV driver has explained the most annoying, and dangerous things drivers do when he is o the roads - in a bid to get motorists to think more carefully about the danger of trucks. Training specialists Driver Hire spoke to professional HGV driver Steven Harris to find out his driver pet peeves from working for 30 years on UK roads.

Steven said he has seen a number of very dangerous drivers in his time on the roads. Remembering one incident, he said: “A lady watching Deal or No Deal on a computer in her car in the middle lane of the motorway. When she was stopped by the police, she denied doing it even though the video camera in my truck showed her doing it."

Steven said even drivers who may not think they are doing anything wrong can created hazards. He said: “One of my pet peeves is when you overtake a slower vehicle on the motorway, and they then accelerate as you get alongside them.

"This is not only annoying but dangerous for HGV drivers who want to pull back into the left-hand lane safely. To avoid collisions (as well as angering professional drivers) maintain your speed to let the faster vehicle pass, and if you want to accelerate, wait and overtake into the middle lane later on."

He also listed junction, tailgating and late exiting the motorways as his 'pet hates', adding: “Cars will sometimes pull out from a side road in front of you as you approach, even when there is nothing behind you so they could have waited. With a heavy HGV, you have to brake more heavily than a car would.

"Instead, be respectful of large vehicles and their increased stopping distances, and wait until there is a reasonable gap to pull out into the road to continue on with your journey."

He added: “The worst weather to drive in, for me, is very heavy rain. When driving in these conditions, it is made worse and more dangerous by drivers tailgating other road users, and not doubling their braking distance. When it is raining, you should always double your braking distance, as because it will take you twice as long to stop on a wet road surface. Even in the day time, in bad driving conditions, always make sure to turn your lights on to increase visibility."

Steven said: “Something else you see regularly as a professional driver is cars, vans and even smaller trucks cutting across up to 3 lanes of traffic to take an exit. They will even often cross the white road markings as they have left it too late.

"If you realise you’re meant to take an exit and you are in the wrong lane, it’s always best to keep going. There will always be an option to reroute and come back the way you’ve come. It may add to your journey time, however it’ll keep you and the other road users safe, and save you getting a fine or even a driving ban."

Anmd Steven's final pet peeve comes down to laybys. He said: “Ccars and vans will sometimes park in the middle of lay-bys, leaving no room for truck drivers such as myself to park. Cars blocking entrances is also very frustrating, as you then have to try and reverse or drive round in your large HGV

"Everybody needs to use lay-bys every now and again, and it’s a safe place for all road users to stop to check directions, assess something on your vehicle, or even just take a quick break. However, when using them, be aware of other road users. Park respectfully, away from entrances and exits. Always leave space for other drivers to stop, and remember that large vehicles also need space to build up speed when leaving a lay-by, to filter safely into traffic."


5 Tips for UK Drivers from a Professional

1. Learn the Highway Code
“Everyone has to learn the Highway Code to pass their driving test, but after a few years you might start to forget. To stay safe when driving, revisit the Highway Code regularly, and keep an up-to-date copy, as the rules often change,” says Steven.


2. Have respect for other road users
“There’s nothing worse than encountering disrespectful or rude drivers when you drive for a living, but unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. However, if you have respect for other road users, you’re going to keep yourself safe as well as the other drivers,” says Steven.


3. Drive carefully
“Always drive carefully, defensively instead of offensively,” advises Steven. “Careless driving causes so many accidents in the UK, as well as some scary moments for professional drivers like me out on the road."


4. Do safety checks on your vehicle
“Check the lights, tyres and oil levels of your vehicle every week, especially if you’re driving regularly, or driving long distances,” says Steven. “Regular checks mean you will be less likely to break down when out on the road, or for example, be caught driving with a light out, which is very dangerous.”


5. Do a skid control course
“I would recommend taking any advanced driving courses you can, especially a skid control course, so UK road users can be prepared for real and hazardous driving scenarios,” says Steven. “These are not usually very long and it’s much less expensive than the cost of a new car if you happened to skid and lose control of your vehicle, resulting in a crash.”