How The Police’s “New Breed Of Vehicle” is Catching Dangerous Driver’s on The M1

How The Police’s “New Breed Of Vehicle” is Catching Dangerous Driver’s on The M1

Swannells Transport is a haulage company in Huntingdon – operating warehousing, deliveries and general haulage on a daily basis. Due to its significance and our passion for the industry, we like to stay/keep you up to date with HGV news – and this one we find extremely interesting…

12 months ago, the police introduced ‘supercabs’, three unmarked HGVs driven by police forces, as a new method to catch dangerous drivers – and have proven to be a great success so far.

Haulage Company in Huntingdon
Police Forces Using New HGV “supercabs”

These unmarked HGVs have allowed officers to gather evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles, filming the evidence and then the drivers are then pulled over by police cars that were following a short distance behind. For safety reasons (or in case of an emergency), the supercabs have a de-restricted speed limiter and hidden flashing police lights.

Due to the size and type of vehicle, it offers a lot of benefits to the police forces. For instance, it provides the perfect height advantage they need to see inside other vehicles, and the majority of drivers that are committing these crimes wouldn’t be suspicious of a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driving nearby, so it’s a great opportunity to catch them off-guard.

Haulage Company in Huntingdon
Swannells Transport – Haulage Company in Huntingdon

Funded by Highways England, the head of road safety Richard Leonard said: “Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads everyday and the vast majority are sensible behind the wheel but some are putting themselves and others at risk. 

We introduced the three new HGV supercabs last year to help keep the roads safe and tackle dangerous driving by people who have either got into bad habits, or are simply ignoring the law.”

Out of the 29 police forces that have used these vehicles in the last 12 months, they have recorded more than 3,500 offences – 167 in the South West! From using a mobile phone while driving to not wearing a seatbelt, supercabs have enabled the law to be one step ahead of dangerous drivers.

Here are a few offences the forces have already caught evidence of in the last year:

  • 8 motorists caught using mobile phones.
  • 31 people caught not wearing a seatbelt.
  • 32 traffic offences.
  • 21 penalty notices issued.
  • 4 dangerous drivers prosecuted.

Whilst the vehicles have been mostly operating in the Bristol area (M5), throughout this week the supercabs are being used to improve safety on the M1. Hopefully within the next few years more of these vehicles will be introduced and expanded to more of the UK’s roads.

As a Haulage Company in Huntingdon…

As a haulage company in Huntingdon, our drivers are highly experienced and trained to ensure safety is the first priority on the roads we drive on. If you are looking for a company who specialises in hazardous freight, warehousing and other general haulage, get in contact with us today to begin your journey!

For more news and information on our business and industry, give the Swannells Transport Facebook Page a like to be kept up to date!

For now, keep driving safely!

The Please’s and Thank you’s of a HGV Driver – Things to Remember…

The Please’s and Thank you’s of a HGV Driver – Things to Remember…

HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) Drivers are highly trained to drive a vehicle up to ten times the size of yours. We carry a large amount of heavy and important goods to deliver to a customer. Whilst we are in a rush to make the delivery in time, an HGV driver is mostly concerned with the safety of those they drive with. It’s no surprise that every year accidents occur regarding lorries and vans making deliveries, and while it is our responsibility, there are a few ways you, as a car-driver, can help prevent and decrease these accidents.

As professional hauliers, we want to offer you the best advice – So, as well as the offering of distribution and warehousing in Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire, we want you to understand the wishes of an HGV driver regarding the fellow drivers out there. As it is a huge vehicle, consider the fact that we need to be ten times more careful and aware of our surroundings than you, because we don’t want to cause an accident.

distribution and warehousing in Huntingdon

Distribution and Warehousing in Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire

As a result of this, here are our please’s and thank you’s of an HGV Driver i.e. things we please ask for you to remember, you will thank us later…

Please don’t park inappropriately

As a small vehicle, you can park more or less anywhere. All we ask of you is that you consider other drivers, including us and emergency service vehicles, that your space is appropriate. What we mean by this is it doesn’t cause too much obstruction for passing vehicles or even pedestrians. Therefore, please do not park on opposite junctions (unless it is completely safe to do so) or park anywhere that will block us large vehicles from passing by, as it can significantly disrupt our delivery schedule. Thank you…

Please keep a safe distance

Particularly on roads like motorways, there have been times where we have come across vehicles driving closely behind our Heavy Goods Vehicles, also known as tailgating. This can be extremely dangerous for the vehicle tailgating because if we suddenly need to break, you won’t have an efficient amount of time to react and stop your vehicle within safe time, and as an extraordinarily huge and heavy vehicle, your small engine probably wouldn’t stand a chance running into the back of us.

Additionally, as a larger vehicle we have larger blind spots, meaning that due to the long length of our load, we probably wouldn’t be able to see you if you were tailgating us. This gives you much more reason not to drive too close as 1) there is a chance we could break suddenly and even after checking our mirrors you can still be in harms way and 2) the purpose of your tailgating would be completely unnecessary, as we can’t even see you to feel the slightest intimidation or pressure. So PLEASE be safe and keep an efficient separation distance from us. Thank you…

Please understand that we are also in a rush

distribution and warehousing in Huntingdon

Please take your time…

You might be in a rush to work, an appointment or to meet friends, and whilst your social life will be much important to you than our delivery, we please ask you to understand the fact that we too are also in a rush. We may not seem it because we are still driving below the speed limit and taking our time, but providing a successful delivery accurately on time is a huge priority to us. However, it is not our main priority – that is, in fact, the safety of the load, the driver, and the vehicles around the HGV. So whilst we are “taking our time” and “disrupting” yours, we are also taking great consideration into your safety and trying our best to prevent an accident. Thank you…

Please share lay-bys

Us HGV Drivers have strict rules requiring us to have a regulated break after four and a half hours of driving, and when the majority of our journey is taken up on motorways and dual carriageways, usually our only chance of a break is to park in a lay-by and relax. Lay-bys are ideally the easiest option for a large vehicle, as it is probably the most legal and safest place for an HGV to park. Now, we aren’t demanding our own territory here, as other cars and vehicles also have the rights to a lay-by in case of an emergency, but all we ask is to share. Furthermore, often when drivers approach a lay-by, they come across a car parked right in the middle of one, completely obstructing our rights to access. So please ensure you are parked with plenty of room (and more) for other vehicles to get through. Thank you…

Please indicate

distribution and warehousing in Huntingdon

Indicating Vehicle

Finally, please indicate your direction clearly to us. Whether you are in behind, in front or next to us, it is important you communicate with us where you are intending to go, so we can prepare and aren’t introduced to any surprises. Doing this genuinely keeps us at ease when driving, as we have a lot of pressure on us anyway. Failure to do so risks causing an accident or a slight scare for us, so please help us out. Thank you…

Here at Swannells Transport, we are a team of experienced individuals offering distribution and warehousing in Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire. We aim to offer excellent service, customer service and take responsibility for our actions – that is why we want a safe and easy ride, here was our advice to do so.

Thank you for reading.

How To Enjoy A Long Journey

How To Enjoy A Long Journey

Warehousing Companies in Cambridgeshire

Warehousing Companies in Cambridgeshire

As a part of Haulage and Warehousing Companies in Cambridgeshire, experienced and reliable individuals are tasked with long journeys almost every day, with the responsibility of delivering potentially fragile and/or dangerous goods to a client. Due to the weight and the size of the vehicle, and the conditions you have to drive in, allocating the right driver for the job can be a difficult situation because they have to be properly trained and experienced as well as know how to be safe driving a Heavy Goods Vehicle.

For example, your mental health is extremely important to us, and it is essential that you have the right trust in yourself and are in an exceptional state to drive these huge vehicles a long distance. Not only will this build a trusty relationship between manager and worker, but will prevent more accidents involving HGV’s.

At Swannells Transport, we want our trained drivers to enjoy the journey, rather than tolerate it. There can be a real pleasure in driving long distances – despite the potential bad weather, congested roads and the risk of damaging the loaded goods, a healthy state will enjoy the freedom, the scenery etc.

We want to help out our fellow drivers who have to face long journeys daily, here are our top tips on how to enjoy a long journey when working for warehousing companies in Cambridgeshire:

Keep Yourself in Check

You can’t enjoy a journey if you are hungry or tired, it’s also really unsafe! Make sure you have a good nights sleep the night before and a good old breakfast in the morning. The energy will keep you going and focused on your long journey. Also, it might be a good idea to allow extra journey time, in case of an emergency or you need to stop!

Prepare Well!

To make the journey as enjoyable as possible you should have your vehicle checked over before leaving for your long journey, and if you do. You can do this by:

    • Having your vehicle regularly checked.
    • Making sure you have enough petrol, and that you take a route with a petrol station nearby.
    • Making sure your seatbelt works and you wear it at ALL TIMES.
    • Adjusting your head restraint so it is the right height for you – the widest part of the restraint should be in line with the top of your ears. Doing so can help prevent neck injuries in case of an accident.
    • The load is properly secure and spread in your vehicle.
    • You have checked the weight limitations of your vehicle and made sure the load you will be carrying is obeying those limitations.

Warehousing Companies in Cambridgeshire

Warehousing Companies in Cambridgeshire

Take Advantage of Your Radio

Depending on what vehicle you have can depend on the features provided for you. You can enjoy some musical entertainment by putting on the radio, you could download a podcast on your phone then listen to it in your vehicle using an AUX cable (although you need to have an AUX plug) or you could even listen to an audiobook! When you are driving a large, heavy vehicle you need to keep focused at all times, and these three activities are easy to set up and will keep you entertained for a few hours.

Stop Regularly

Like I said earlier, you will have to allow extra time by leaving earlier, but making time to stop driving, whether it is just a stretch and a walk or enjoying some food in a cafe, can really make all of the difference. You might just be sitting down and moving your arms for a few hours, but everyone can understand the struggle of a long journey, especially as you are constantly focused on the road and not damaging the load inside.

Keep Hydrated

On top of all of that, you should also have plenty of water and snacks close by. Driving can not only be exhausting, but your constant focusing can cause you to become hungry and dehydrated, and not having food and drink with you can make you quite irritable, where you, therefore, can’t enjoy your long journey. Keep yourself refreshed and energised with some food and drinks in arms reach.

At Swannells Transport, we aren’t just one of those warehousing companies in Cambridgeshire, we are an experienced, leading team of individuals ready to deliver the highest standards of professional service we could possibly provide. Contact us today for more information

Thank you for reading, enjoy your journey!

Being Smart and Safe on a Motorway

Being Smart and Safe on a Motorway

Every year, almost a quarter of injuries/accidents, caused by heavy goods vehicles, result in fatalities or serious injury – and given the nature of HGV crashes, it’s no wonder the government and the FTA (Freight Transport Association) have joined forces to offer efficient safety training for drivers who travel on smart motorways.

By ‘smart motorways’ we mean certain motorways that are designed to reduce congestion, by adding significant capacity to much-needed areas and improve the reliability of journey time. The 8 hour, single-day course covers both the history and future of smart motorways, including signals, driver behaviour, motorway laws and traffic officer roles etc. and as hauliers are the most frequent users of these types of motorways, and also one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road, this course would be ideal for any individual that works in the haulage industry.

Lorries and any other HGV’s are incredibly large and heavy, also making them incredibly dangerous – so it’s important you take precautions when driving them/close by one, for instance:

Driving an HGV:

  • Ensure you are healthy, both physically and mentally, enough to drive a large vehicle. Going onto the road in any vehicle unconfidently can potentially cause a major accident, so think about yourself in order to keep others safe.
  • Ensure you understand the laws of the road and haulage industry i.e. the highway code etc.
  • Inspect your vehicle before you leave. Make sure you have the right documents (and even your driving license), wheels are healthy, and that you have a spare one in case of an emergency, your vehicle isn’t breaking any weight restriction rules.
  • When on the road, you don’t attempt to overtake another vehicle, whether that is a haulage, commercial or basic vehicle, on the motorway. It can be highly dangerous and should only be done if completely necessary and observations are safe and clear in other directions.
  • When on the road, you don’t attempt to tailgate other vehicles, especially smaller ones. It can be rather intimidating for smaller vehicles to be closely followed by a much larger vehicle, decreasing their concentration and observation and thus increasing the chance of a severe accident caused.
  • Observe at all times! You need to constantly remind yourself that you are in a much bigger vehicle than others on these motorways, so you are therefore a lot more lethal. Observing everywhere ensures you are safe and decreases the chance of a potentially fatal accident.

Driving close to them:

  • Do not drive closely behind a large vehicle – if they have to break in case of an emergency it can cause very serious consequences for you and the passengers in your car, and they may not be able to see you.
  • If you plan on overtaking an HGV on a motorway, don’t mess about; stick to the speed limit but ensure the process is done quickly and safely, and avoid driving next to them for the longest time, as this can be quite intimidating.
  • Similar to the first rule, leave a time gap of a couple of seconds when driving behind an HGV, especially in particular weather conditions. This ensures you enough time to prepare in case of an emergency stop or action from the driver that causes you to react.
  • Be patient, it is a large, very heavy vehicle containing important goods… it’s their job, so think about each other’s safety, and don’t attempt to do anything that could possibly worry or confuse the driver.

motorways

Back to the topic of the available course, Malcolm Bingham, the Head of the Road Network Management Policy at the FTA believes that this course is ‘the right way forward’, that ‘providing drivers with true guidance on how to use the network and not adding confusion about which parts of the road they can use and when’. Any company or worker that wants their staff to sharpen up their skills on motorways or HGV’s, in general, should take this course into consideration, as the safety on the road is a huge problem that is overlooked.

HGV Work: How to be Safe

HGV Work: How to be Safe

You are responsible for your actions and your actions only. Whether you are an operator or a driver, it is your responsibility to make sure you/your employees and your vehicle are safe and prepared to be on the road. These protocols can range from vehicle checks to drug tests and could potentially stop you from causing a fatal accident. Here are 6 protocols you should undertake before leaving for a delivery.

safe

Schedule and Plan Your Journey

As a worker, you should have an efficient system in place that will ensure you reach your destination in time. This includes taking into consideration potential congestion, weather conditions, learner drivers and road accidents, works or closures etc. Planning your journey allows you to be organised when on the road, decreasing the risk of getting distracted by maps or mobile phones.

In order to plan it, you need to be practical and must not jeopardise road safety. Meaning, you should allow time for general congestion and any other known disruptions that could affect your journey. Do this by taking into account your experience with driving your vehicle and how you feel about it – if you feel like you need to stay overnight, it’s vital that the security of your vehicle and load is highly secure.

Undertake Driver Training

Participating in driver training allows you to:

  • Be qualified.
  • Have a good knowledge of safety and the importance of it.
  • Be more reliable than someone that hasn’t received proper training.
  • Provide good customer service.
  • Contribute to the business’s positive image.

The training should cover all aspects of a driver’s work, and each individual duty should have some sort of practice procedure. When you are training, you should be covered on duties such as:

  • Emergencies.
  • Overnight stops.
  • Travelling abroad.
  • Safe, secure and legal loading.
  • Safe, secure and legal parking.
  • Safety of refuelling.
  • Correct driver behaviour.
  • Correct control of speed.

All of these procedures and the overall training doesn’t just concern new drivers, so don’t scroll just yet. You as a driver should ensure that you refresh your training to keep yourself up to date and valid. Whether it’s just read the driver manual/handbook frequently, it’s important that your knowledge is updated and you understand how to act safely and correctly on the road with an HGV.

safe

Have Plenty of Rest

According to a survey completed by 4,000 anonymous HGV workers, 29% of them admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. The risk of a fatal accident is doubled with an HGV because of the size and weight of the vehicle, so it’s incredibly important that all responsible drivers avoid falling asleep at the wheel at all costs.

There are a number of ways you can be fully rested and prepared for a journey. Whether it’s early-morning or overnight, it’s always advised you have a rest and nutritional meal before departure, so you have the right energy levels to be on the road. It’s also recommended you check with your management about your shifts; if you feel like you are working too many hours, don’t ditch it, simply contact the team to try and resolve your fatigue.

Do Not Consume Alcohol or Drugs

Consuming alcohol and drugs can have a disastrous effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why it’s vital the management of all industries set out clear terms and consequences of these actions. Without these rules in this industry, it doesn’t just risk the employees, it puts all of the pedestrians and fellow road users that you come across in serious danger. So do you really think it is worth it?

Overall, as an operator, you should be introducing random drug tests so you are frequently monitoring your employees unexpectedly. This will also encourage your employees not to have it in either their possession or system. However, as an employee, if you decide to consume alcohol or take drugs before a long journey, you are potentially risking a large number of people’s lives, so just think.

Safe Load

It’s vital your vehicle is loaded safely and checked before departure. This is because overloading may cause the large vehicle to be difficult to control, making it a bigger hazard than it already is. Furthermore, overloaded vehicles can also cause damage to road surfaces, buildings, bridges and any other structures, also increasing the risk of an accident for not just you, but other fellow road users also.

Check The Weather

It’s fairly common for people to check the weather every morning, but if you don’t, you should start; The weather can affect the environment dramatically, depending on the severity of the forecast. For example, high winds can put vehicles at risk of being blown over and rain can affect the control, especially when they are large vehicles. The weather is usually notified to companies by the Highway Agency and weather forecasts. So, as an operator, we would recommend delaying your loaded vehicles’ departures and informing a driver already on the road to shelter in a safe place until further notice.

safe

Thank you for reading. Be safe.