Driving in front of, or even behind, a large lorry can be daunting. But there's no need to panic as Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart's head of riding and driving standards, is here to help with seven top driving tips to keep you at ease.
When you're driving on a motorway, you'll notice many lorries with overseas number plates. Bear in mind that the driver will be sitting on the left-hand side rather than the right, so you may be difficult to see and the driver may be getting used to his lane position in the UK. Take extra care when passing and allow more space if you can
We've all heard the saying: "If you can see their mirrors, then they can see you." However an HGV can have up to five mirrors and the driver can only see one at a time so he may not spot you. Hold back and you will eventually be visible in their mirrors
Identify when there is a likelihood of the HGV changing lanes. Is there a slip road coming up with joining traffic which may force you into a lane change? Or if there is an HGV in lane two, are they likely to move back into lane one? Be accommodating by hanging back and allowing them to move into the lane they want
At some point we've all experienced heavy spray from an HGV in front of us. You can control this by increasing the distance between yourself and the lorry. The Highway Code suggests at least four seconds in the rain but if needed, make it more. Not only will it prevent your wipers working overtime, it will also improve your vision beyond the HGV
An articulated lorry will track sideways in a right-hand bend on the motorway and on a roundabout, so avoid being next to it. A good rule of thumb is to be safely in front of or safely behind, but never beside an HGV when entering a roundabout
If you see a queue of traffic in front of you and have an HGV behind you, introduce your brake lights early to pre-warn the driver behind and slow down gradually. This will let the HGV driver extend their braking distance and stop in plenty of time. On a motorway or dual carriageway, hazard lights can be used to show drivers behind you of any issues further in front (Highway Code rule 116)
Despite being legally limited to 60mph, an HGV can only physically reach a maximum of 56mph on the motorway. So if you do see a HGV in the right-hand lane, give them a helping hand by slowing down and letting them get into the left lane. Allow them to pass more easily if you can
Richard said: "As any HGV driver will tell you, they sometimes need a bit of extra space to move down the road.
"Visibility can be restricted and no amount of mirrors will allow all of the blind spots to be monitored all of the time. By applying some simple rules and sharing the road space, we can make life easier for all of us. On a roundabout they will need more than one lane so let them have it; a few seconds delay will be worth it if you prevent a crash. Walk a mile in the other man's shoes and understand what he may need."