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Bridge strikes are more common than you think, especially when you see all of the pictures of these types of accidents going viral. A bridge strike is an accident where the truck or the truck’s load doesn’t have enough clearance to get under a bridge or overpass.

This can lead to a whole host of issues that can be embarrassing, costly, and potentially even dangerous. By reading on, you can learn all about bridge strikes, what you can do to avoid them, and how these can impact you.

What Causes Bridge Strikes?

There are several things that can cause a bridge strike, all of which can be avoided. Below are the most common causes for these types of accidents which include:

  • Truck drivers not knowing the height of their truck or load.
  • Not properly planning routes.
  • Drivers who don’t understand street signs.
  • Inadequate signage.
  • Truck drivers that use navigation tools are used for cars or smaller vehicles, which won’t avoid the low underpasses or bridges.

While inadequate signage is a problem with the local departments, every other cause can be avoided by the driver. It’s crucial that you avoid bridge strikes to keep yourself and everyone else on the road as safe as possible.

Otherwise, there is the potential risk for catastrophic injuries that you will likely be liable for. HGV drivers are trained in the best ways to avoid these types of accidents.

Tips To Avoid Bridge Strikes

In the UK, bridge strike is a common and major problem, which is why it’s so important for you to understand how to avoid this problem.

Bridge strikes are completely avoidable if you take the right precautions. This section will take a look at the different things that you can do that will help you to avoid bridge strikes.

Know the Dimensions of Your Vehicle and/or Load

As a truck driver, you must know the height or length of your truck and the load. If you’re not certain about the dimensions of your truck, you can get this information from your fleet manager.

This is important because when you come upon a bridge or overpass as you are driving, you want to make sure that you read the height restrictions before driving under it. If you don’t know your height, you won’t know whether or not you can successfully go under without having an accident.

Lorry driving is checking the transport routes

Planning a Truck-Safe Route

Routes are generally planned out using the most optimised routes, ensuring that the drivers can be as efficient as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes the truck and load heights are overlooked when planning out these routes.

All routes should be planned out not just for the most optimised routes, but also the routes that factor in your truck and load heights. This will help you to avoid a situation where you end up traveling under a bridge or overpass that you shouldn’t be.

Communications While Driving

There are times when the unexpected happens, such as road closures, which cause you to change your routes when driving.

When that happens, the drivers tend to go based on their own navigation systems to get around. These sat navigation tools may not be specifically made for trucks, which can lead a driver into a situation where they end up having to travel under a bridge or overpass that they are too big for.

If drivers do face a detour, they should drive to a safe location and then get into contact with their fleet manager/dispatcher to figure out the best route for them. This can be essential in avoiding issues like bridge strikes.
Training on Load Security

Loads that aren’t secure can be another cause of bridge strikes, which is another reason why secure loads are so important. All drivers should be well-educated on the topic of securing loads to ensure that they don’t cause a dangerous situation.

Read Traffic Signs

It’s easy to start having tunnel vision as you are driving, especially as a truck driver. But you must be always aware of the traffic and warning signs around you.

These signs will let you know if you are approaching a bridge or overpass and will give you the height limit to travel underneath. It’s important to look out for these signs to avoid a bridge strike.

Low bridge traffic sign

What to Do If You Do Hit a Bridge/Overpass

If you do hit a bridge or overpass, you should do the following:

  • Do not try to drive away from the incident, as this qualifies as a hit and run. Leave the vehicle exactly where it is to avoid further problems.
  • Report the bridge strike immediately by calling the police, your dispatch, and the number on the bridge’s ID plate.
  • Try to keep the public away from the accident.

How Can Bridge Strikes Impact You?

There are significant consequences of a bridge strike, including:

  • Causing disruption to rail services and create a dangerous situation for these passengers.
  • Causing disruptions and traffic delays on roads in the area.
  • Potentially being held liable for these accidents, which can lead to loss of employment, losing your license, and even imprisonment.
  • Transport operators may be held liable for assessing and repairing damages on bridges or overpasses in addition to costs for retrieving the truck and its load.
  • Transport operators may also be liable for any costs incurred by delayed or cancelled rail services.

Conclusion

Bridge strikes occur far too frequently in the country and across the globe. You don’t want to be the next viral image across the internet to fall victim to bridge strikes. You also don’t want to deal with the liability issues that you will face if anyone gets hurt as a result of your accident.

This article offers you the advice that you need in order to avoid bridge strikes and stay as safe as possible while you are out on the road. Bridge strike accidents can be catastrophic, which is why it’s so important to understand these accidents and your role in preventing them.

For more information on the prevention of Bridge Strike, visit the UK Government site by clicking here. You can also visit our blog for more HGV driving tips and advice.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the article and find it helpful. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about our HGV jobs, please get in touch with Global Employment Bureau on 01604 761206 our friendly team is always happy to help.