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We have all seen bad drivers from time to time, but could anything be worse than a 40 tonne HGV making an illegal U-turn on the M6 motorway? It sounds bizarre, but it actually did happen last month in Staffordshire. You can see it for yourself thanks to a video posted on the BBC website. As for the driver, he has lost his lorry licence after making the dangerous move.

The BBC video shows 51-year-old Leonid Papachin driving the wrong way up an exit slip road in Lichfield. He apparently realised his mistake upon reaching the motorway, pulling his vehicle over to the far right side of the road. He then waited until traffic cleared, then boldly pulled out and made a U-turn to face his truck in the right direction. It is a wonder no one was hurt. Nonetheless, Cannock Magistrate’s Court was not amused.

Papachin pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and received a 15 month suspended prison term. His lorry licence was also revoked for 18 months and he was given an £85 penalty. Motorway patrol officials hope that the case serves as a deterrent to others who would consider similar actions.

This case is unusual enough that it is garnering quite a bit of media attention. However, it is only unusual in that it involves an HGV, a U-turn, and a major motorway. Truth be told, dangerous driving is actually fairly common on UK motorways. While this one man was caught, how many others remain undeterred after facing no consequences for their actions?

Remembering Other Drivers

No reasonable excuse can be offered to explain Mr Papachin’s actions on the M6. Perhaps he was unfamiliar with the road system or perhaps he was temporarily distracted before making his fateful turn onto the slip road. In either case, once he discovered his vehicle was pointed in the wrong direction he should have immediately stopped and contacted the authorities. Pulling out onto an active motorway in an attempt to make a U-turn is dangerous enough, but doing so in a 40 tonne lorry is nothing short of insanity.

The good news is that Mr Papachin is not representative of the professional driving community as a whole. Most HGV drivers have enough common sense to understand how dangerous the manoeuvre is. We hope that Papachin has learned his lesson to the extent that he never tries something similar again.

Here at the HGV Training Centre, we are all about safety. In an incident such as this one, it is a matter of remembering that there are other drivers on the road who could be negatively impacted by a driver’s actions. Everything a driver does behind the wheel effects everyone else on the road in one way or another.

Our training programmes are designed to help a driver earn his or her lorry licence in a way that teaches them safety and responsibility at the same time. If you want to know more about our HGV training, feel free to contact us.

Sources:

BBC – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-30039395

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