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Sat Nav failures; they can make us laugh in some cases and cry and others. Such is the case with a recent sat nav failure that left a Northumberland couple unable to leave their home by car. The problem was caused by a Hungarian lorry driver who apparently spoke very little English. The story has forced us to wonder whether HGV training should include basic English for any foreign driver planning to work in Western Europe.

The failure in question involved a driver delivering equipment to a wind farm site near Berwick. EDF Energy is currently in the process of building six wind turbines in the area. The driver, being completely unfamiliar with the roads, followed the instructions of his sat nav without question. Even when it led him down a very narrow road that was clearly not intended to be used by large commercial vehicles.

It gets worse. There were signs directing lorries to the wind farm site that the driver should have seen and understood. However, his apparent lack of English prevented that. So instead, he made a wrong turn onto the country lane leading to the farm occupied by the local couple. Once his vehicle was stuck in the mud, it was all over. For the better part of the day, the couple had no vehicle access to the property. This led to the wife being late to work, as she had to walk some distance to a spot from where her boss could pick her up.

EDF Energy was kind enough to send their own crews to retrieve the stranded lorry and apologise to the residents and local community. Unfortunately, that did not change the fact that the couple were isolated from the property for nearly 12 hours. EDF says it is working with their contractor to determine how the driver lost his way so that future incidents can be prevented.

A Tool Is a Tool

This story is a perfect illustration and reminder that a tool is just that: something to make the job of the HGV driver somewhat easier. Nevertheless, it is not a substitute for proper training and skill. In this case, a lack of English skills clearly led to mistakes that wound up causing unnecessary problems for local residents. Had the driver known and understood English, this incident could have been avoided.

As to whether or not HGV training will eventually include basic English, we can only leave that to regulators. It would seem to be a reasonable requirement in light of the fact that English is now the international language of business. Drivers from non-English speaking countries should probably receive some sort of training so they can at least read and understand road signs.

Here at the HGV Training Centre, we focus our attentions on training the best drivers in the business. If you would like more information about earning your HGV licence, do not hesitate to contact us by phone or through this website.


Chronicle Live – https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/sat-nav-guided-hgv-gets-8144759


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