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A lorry driver making his way through Durham late last month (January 2016) learned the hard way that HGV driving schools cannot prepare future drivers for every possible problem. In fact, you could make the case that this driver is lucky to be alive. Video footage shows his truck almost being blown over by high winds as he made his way up the A1 on a blustery day.

The video, published by the Daily Star on 4 February, was shot by a 17-year-old riding as a passenger in another vehicle. The second vehicle was following behind the lorry as extremely high winds buffeted it on the day when gusts approached 70 mph in some areas. The 17-year-old and his mates were shocked when a gust of wind hit the lorry and tipped it up 45-degrees, causing it to ride on its right axles for several seconds.

As soon as the lorry driver righted his vehicle the driver of the car began flashing him to pull over. Thankfully, he did. The car driver then used his vehicle to block further traffic from attempting to pass the lorry until emergency services arrived. While they waited, the wind continued buffeting the truck. It eventually ripped the roof off.

You Cannot Tame the Weather

At our HGV driving schools, we spend a lot of time talking with students about weather and safety issues. Weather obviously has a significant impact on HGV driving, but one thing is made clear: you cannot tame the weather no matter how hard you try. There are times when it is just best to pull off the road and wait for conditions to improve. It appears as though the driver whose truck was almost blown onto its side in Durham should have done just that.

Large lorries are especially susceptible to high winds because they provide a lot of surface area for the wind to buffet. Straight-line winds are especially dangerous, but even a downward draft can cause serious problems for a lorry. Wind hitting the side of a trailer makes it unstable right from the start; a second gust or downdraft can topple the truck like a toy. Drivers need to be very careful in windy conditions, especially on exposed roadways and bridges.

In this particular case, we are very pleased to know that no one was injured as a result of the dangerous conditions. Things could have been much worse if the lorry had toppled into the oncoming lane as opposing traffic was passing by. Even the driver could have been seriously injured or killed had the truck completely flipped.

Those of us at the HGV Training Centre appreciate the hard work and dedication of the nation’s lorry drivers. Without the services they provide, our economy would come to a grinding halt. We encourage lorry drivers across the country to be careful during stormy winter weather. Let us all be cautious and safe, for both ourselves and our families.

Sources:

  1. Daily Star – https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/492494/motorway-video-of-UK-lorry-doing-wheelie

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