Where are the blind spots on a HGV?

Blind spots on large vehicles are one of the major causes of incidents across all industries. The sheer size of HGVs and plant machinery means driver visibility and direct vision from the cab can be seriously limited. 

Blind spots on large vehicles are unique to each individual vehicle type and can be complex and numerous. For example, the operator’s line of vision from a telehandler cab will be very different from that of a driver in a refuse lorry.  However, while blind spots will vary from vehicle to vehicle, there are common blind spot areas that are applicable to all large vehicles and help to determine the vehicle safety system requirements that should be put in place.

According to Transport for London, HGVs are involved in more than 80% of fatalities among vulnerable road users in the city, despite making up only 4% of traffic. Meanwhile, reports from the World Health Organization show that construction and agriculture are among the highest risk occupations in the world, with many injuries and fatalities caused by moving vehicles or machinery. Driver visibility is vital in maintaining safety. What drivers can see from inside a vehicle plays a key role in directing road and worksite safety and ensuring fatalities are prevented.

There are four main causes of collisions between HGVs and vulnerable road users:

  • Drivers unable to see pedestrians from the front as they pull away resulting in striking the pedestrian
  • Drivers unable to see vulnerable road users or groundworkers at the rear while manoeuvring
  • Drivers turning left and unable to see vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, in the nearside blind spot
  • Drivers changing lane or turning right and colliding with another road user

While driver visibility can be aided by passive systems, such as mirrors and cameras, these will still require driver input in order to spot objects or people. In the time it takes for a driver to check mirrors and react, a vehicle could have travelled as far as 10 metres, even at speeds as low as 3mph. Mirrors also have other restrictions that can mean visibility is compromised. These include distortion of reflected objects, not being set up correctly and being affected by rain and dirt.

If a driver is not looking in the mirror or at a camera at a precise moment in time, they will not necessarily see that something is in the immediate vicinity of their vehicle. This is why vehicle safety systems that require a driver to take immediate action through the provision of audible alerts and warning sounds are crucial to maintaining the highest road safety standards. These active systems will notify a driver instantly when a vehicle or object is in their blind spot, ensuring a driver can react immediately and prevent a collision.

Our camera monitor systems enable drivers and operators to manoeuvre safely. The vehicle-mounted CCTV cameras help the driver see blind spots and offer a reversing aid by delivering a live feed on the monitor of everything in the camera view, including cyclists and pedestrians.

Our Backeye®360 is an intelligent camera monitoring system designed to assist low-speed manoeuvring by providing the driver with a complete surround view of the vehicle in real time. Ultra-wide-angle cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle capture the surrounding areas including all blind spots.

It’s also worth investing in ultrasonic proximity sensors, which are ideal for vehicles operating in confined spaces or manoeuvring at low speed. The detection system alerts the driver to nearby obstacles, both moving and stationary, while an audible and/or visual in-cab warning informs the driver of the distance to the obstacle.

For further information about Brigade and our safety products, please get in touch.