Bump in the Night- The UK’s Rental-vehicle Collision Problem…

Road accidents are a nonpareil phenomenon; you can’t quite look head-on at the multitude of twisted metal and shattered glass, but you can’t quite bring yourself to look away either. Undoubtedly a common occurrence within the UK, with over 1,560 reported road deaths in 2021, and over 27,000 maimed or seriously injured, road safety should be at the forefront of decision-making authorities when it comes to making the UK a more sustainable environment. 

When it comes to one common feature of the built environment and key elements of civil engineering, bridges play a crucial part in commonplace road bumps and scrapes. With this category of collisions becoming more rampant as the year’s progress, taxpayers find themselves being charged with an increasing cost of damages and delays. Furthermore, statistics show that rental vehicles experience a higher collision rate in comparison to non-rental vehicles, although little research has been done into this field of study (as of currently).

Luton van hits a bridge. Very common on rental vas

A Brief Insight into Bridge Strikes…

A bridge strike is an incident involving vehicles with a height taller than the clearance underneath the structure, therefore causing a collision with the bridge as a result of over height. In bridge strikes, both the vehicle and its load are damaged, with death and severe injury not being inconceivable outcomes of these incidents. 

Not only are bridge strikes both life-threatening and devastating to nearby surroundings, but also to properties and financial assets; constructing, maintaining, and repairing bridges are usually extremely costly.

Being one of the most common HGV accidents in the UK, both among rental and non-rental vehicles, it is estimated that bridge strikes cost UK taxpayers an exorbitant 23 million pounds annually, with Network Rails reporting an excess of over 2,000 bridge strikes during the year 2017. 

Many bridges nowadays are being constructed such that the structural damage maintained on impact is minimal. However, what can we do to prevent such occurrences from happening, especially within the rental vehicle community (as this retains the highest share of road-based accidents)? Van leasing isn’t for the feint hearted

Preventing Bridge Strikes

First of all, here’s an obvious piece of advice- plan your route prior to leaving the house. It should go without saying, but as a truck or HGV driver, the chances of encountering a low or narrow approach are moderately high. This is also in parallel to the chances of making an ill-informed guess when deciding upon the structure’s accessibility (in regards to your vehicle’s height.) For the sake of yourself, the environment, and others, going out on a whim and deciding to leg it, can only be completely detrimental. Moreover, avoiding the temptation of taking a shortcut and venturing through unfamiliar territory is also strongly advised, circumventing the possibility of unforeseen obstructions or hindrances. 

Going to the effort of measuring your vehicle’s dimensions is also a meritorious move- vehicle height should never really exceed 3 metres. If this is the case, you’ll have hard luck trying to get around anywhere. It is also worth noting that differences between advertised and received dimensions should be reported immediately, so as to make others aware of the discrepancy.  Even VW vans are not immune, nor ford van leasing

Head Over Wheels – Straightforward Measures to Avoid an Accident

Maintaining your vehicle to an excellent standard is absolutely imperative- we recommend having your breaks regularly checked by a mechanic every six months at the very least. Furthermore, receiving vehicle maintenance every 12 months is a non-negotiable must-have, to ensure fully functioning components and a guaranteed safe travel experience. 

Another no-brainer is strictly limiting your driving conditions to dry, high-visibility surroundings. In Wales, the UK’s most popular camping / motorhome site, inhabitants are no strangers to unpredictable, volatile weather. Make good use of that common sense and don’t take chances- chances kill.

Moreover, retaining tip-top internal conditions is equally, if not more important than checking the weather. In 2018, fatigue was reported to have caused 62 fatal road collisions, solely in the UK. It has been scientifically justified that tired drivers pose similar risks to drunk drivers, with even a split second of the accidental-shut eye causing egregious devastation and injury. 

Crashed Your Rental Vehicle?

Damage to a vehicle that is not yours doesn’t sound as bad an option at a first glance- but it can bring extremely financially demanding consequences. Worst comes to worst, you’ll end up paying for both the cost of the rental and any other surrounding vehicles that have sustained damage due to your reckless decisions. In addition, financially compensating other injured drivers- including the ambulance ride, medical bills, and lost wages- is not completely out of the question. In conclusion, it really isn’t worth damage to both a vehicle that is yours and not yours- both carry their own weight of heavy compensation and consequence. 

Consequences of Bridge Strikes…

Alongside the conspicuous outcomes, bridge strikes can also pose a threat to railway passengers. Striking a bridge and damaging the structure can lead to enormously calamitous and usually fatal injuries if a train was to be led off course. Prosecution, or even prison, is a very probable aftermath in this scenario. 

Certain bridges, or certain locations, are prone to suffer more at the hands of oncoming vehicles; for example, in Ely, Cambridgeshire, just one bridge has suffered 32 bridge strikes in a year. That’s a lot of damage!

In conclusion…

Ladies and gentlemen- it’s not worth it. Perhaps one moment of distraction, a quick glance at that funny message your friend sent, and, boom- you’re now covered in a gigantuous mound of debt and legal costs. Sometimes playing it safe is so much easier- and so much more affordable too. 

Here, at Swiss Vans , we want you to know that we care about both the welfare of our vehicles and of yourself. If you choose to rent from us, then expert full participation and enthusiasm on our part, when it comes to getting you the reliable information you need, and therefore picking out a motorhome that is most suited to your requirements. Choosing a campervan has never been so easy! 
Van collision article

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