Network Rail has launched a campaign to educate drivers of tall vehicles to eliminate hitting bridge. No matter how long you have been driving trucks, no matter how confident you feel as a driver, please look up the campaign and digest what it has to day – and please don’t let complacency make you ignore it.
Lorries hitting bridges – especially railway bridges – is – sadly – still a major issue. And it’s a scenario where no one whatsoever wins. The driver – aside from damaging their pride – is solely responsible for causing huge costs and delays to hundreds of people.
The cost to hauliers is immense. The damage to their truck – and especially – trailers, will result in higher insurance premiums; so add costs to their business. Then there is the damage to the goods – which will either be written off or late at their eventual arrival – and this could lose the haulier a contract. Then there is their reputation – you can’t put a price on that.
Then there is the cost to the railways – not only to inspect and repair any bridge damage but in compensation to delayed passengers, some of whom may not return to the railways if they have a bad experience – and so could drive and cause more congestion. I have been stuck on a train when it got held for two hours because a truck had hit a bridge and my train could not continue until NR engineers were satisfied the bridge as safe to cross.
Then there are the perception issues for the road haulage industry. It just does not look good if ‘one of our own’ clouts a bridge because they have not bothered to concentrate on the road ahead and the numerous warning signs. Or if they do not know the height of their vehicle. When you get in a truck, or couple up a trailer, check the height! It really is that simple. If you have an abnormal load – a digger for example – measure its height before you set off!
Plan your route – and if you are diverted off your intended route – stop and check the new route if ‘low bridge-free’. With the internet and apps, that is easy to do. and when on our ‘foreign’ route – stay vigilant.
Yes, there have been odd instances where bridge heights are incorrectly labelled, and a driver has hit them because the sign indicates their truck ‘will’ get under it when in fact it won’t. But let’s be realistic, such instances are rare.
So, please, please, please be aware of your vehicle’s height and take care when on routes you are not familiar with. If you see a sign and are in anyway shape or form concerned you might not fit, stop and check and don’t risk it.
Let’s get to a stage where bridge bashes just don’t happen. It really isn’t hard to achieve – professionalism, common sense and concentration will eradicate them.