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Sat nav blamed for taking HGVs through village community

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 17, 2012

  • A lorry stuck in Gambles Lane, Cleeve Hill

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HUGE articulated lorries are causing blockages in a village community near Cheltenham as drivers blindly follow their on-board sat-navs.

Residents in Gambles Lane, on Cleeve Hill, said the vehicles, many of them weighing more than 10 tonnes, have caused untold damage as they tried to squeeze through the narrow route, which is unsuitable for heavy goods traffic due to its steep gradient.

Grass verges have been left churned up and roadside walls damaged, with other road users left facing long delays as the stranded behemoths leave the route impassable.

Towed

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Gordon Ruffle, who lives in Gambles Lane, said a lorry from Hungary had to be towed up the hill last week after getting stuck on its way to Postlip paper mill in Winchcombe.

The 61-year-old added: "The driver had ignored signs at the bottom of the lane saying it was unsuitable for vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

"He got about half way up and then realised he couldn't get any further. A number of motorists trying to get through had to reverse as there was nowhere for them to pass.

"I spoke to the driver, and he said he was just following his sat-nav."

Mr Ruffle said it was a common issue in the village as lorry drivers tried to cut through from the A435 to get to Winchcombe.

He added: "It's a problem in many communities and it happens on a regular basis here.

"Drivers appear not to understand the road signs or rely too much on their sat-nav."

The issue of HGVs blighting villages has affected other communities around Cheltenham.

Two lorries were recently reported to have got stuck half way up steep Bushcombe Lane and residents in Duntisbourne Abbots, near Cirencester, have frequently complained sat-nav directs oversized vehicles through its narrow lanes.

Parishioners in Leckhampton even set up a Lorry Watch group in 2010 after HGV drivers persistently flouted weight restrictions in Church Road.

Transport officers at Gloucestershire County Council said they passed information of sat-nav problem areas on to Ordnance Survey, so that it could be given to the manufacturers of the machines.

Stephen Harvey, managing director of the Sat Nav Company, said the vast majority of the time problems were caused by human error.

He said: "Nine times out of 10 when a lorry gets stuck on an inappropriate route, it's because the driver is using a car sat-nav instead of an HGV sat- nav. An HGV sat-nav requires the driver to enter the dimensions and weight of the vehicle before the start of the journey and, if that is done properly, it would never take him down a narrow country lane.

"In my opinion there should be tighter rules dictating that HGV drivers have the correct equipment because these vehicles can cause a lot of damage if they end up in the wrong place."

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  • eyeopener  |  December 19 2012, 3:16PM

    Hre is another even more dramtic looking incident in today's 'THIS IS DEVON' http://tinyurl.com/d3veykh How could the driver with or without sat-nav have failed to notice the road was getting narrower? Yes the verge probably collapsed causing his trailer to slide, but wasn't any of that predictable? Anyone wanting to enable their sat-nav to warn of low bridges should go to http://tinyurl.com/bo6ogms where they can download a file which will equip most the most popular makes of sat-nav. It has also been enhanced with Weight and Width Limits. You can then configure your sat-nav to only warn of bridges, weight limits and size relevant to your vehicle. It will even alert you to truck stops! Bridge heights change (resurfacing often changes bridge heights), new weight limits are always being introduced. Consequently files are updates monthly. This means that your car sat-nav will now be able to do most of things an HGV sat-nav can do, only a lot more cheaply. You can also set a maximum speed for car sat-navs so that journey time calculations can predict the time an HGV would take.

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  • eyeopener  |  December 18 2012, 9:07PM

    @ safeandnice "As I said earlier the problem is you cant tell which 7.5T signs are there to prevnt through traffic and which are there because the road really is unsuitable" Had I known you were on a mission, I wouldn't have responded. If you can't handle 7.5T signs thats your problem.

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  • safeandnice  |  December 18 2012, 8:37PM

    @eyeopener Prosecuting every farmer or HGV driver for passing a 7.5T sign for access doesnt happen On the rare chance a driver is stopped who's going to prosecuted them unless it can be shown theyre using it as a through route? Do you think the idea is to shut down the countryside? Prevent trailers of hay going from one field to another? Prevent removal vans mobing people in or out. Prevent delivery of that new kitchen? Of course not. The 7.5T signs are there to prevent HGVs using roads as through routes. Even where a 7.5T is allegedly for a weak bridge, you'll still find farm traffic using it from time to time - so it cant be that weak. Will there be a huge list of exemptions on each sign or is it accepted that access is acceptable? As I said earlier the problem is you cant tell which 7.5T signs are there to prevnt through traffic and which are there because the road really is unsuitable

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  • eyeopener  |  December 18 2012, 6:45PM

    @ verysceptical "Who are as stupid as the idiot HGV drivers who will deliberately straddle two lanes in roadworks just to stop anyone else getting through." HGV drivers will deliberately straddle two lanes in roadworks as they often do at roundabouts to prevent motorists putting themselves in danger by trying to overtake them. On a roundabout the rear of the lorry may not be in the same lane as the front (greater turning circles) and in road works the carraigeway widths may vary or a chicane be involved. In both scenarios there is a risk of crushing any car alongside them and thats why they deliberately straddle two lanes. Its to keep idiots safe!

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  • bonzaharris1  |  December 18 2012, 6:43PM

    Verysceptical, at the time of this accident my husband wasn't straddling two lanes, he was in the left hand lane, the driver of the car, who was heavily pregnant at the time just didn't want to be behind a 45' lorry. She had to take evasive action when when she ran out of road with a car coming towards her. My husband could see what was happening but was powerless to do anything. For your information you moron, that woman could have caused serious injury to my husband due to her imapatience as the road he was driving along had a steep embankment running alongside it. He fortunately had the presence of mind to hold his course, and not try to take evasive action, which could have ended up killing him. The traffic cop thought she was to blame to, he booked her. The reason why a lot of HGV drivers straddle two lanes, is to stop car drivers from coming along side them and trying to barge their way past, causing more traffic jams, and to prevent them from getting squashed by the lorry as the lanes narrow off. I remember one driver from the haulage company I used to work for coming down waterwells, the road was coned off, he had already entered the coned area when a car tried to get past him, The car didn't make it I am afraid, and the side of his car was opened like a bean can by the lorries wheel nuts. As I said idiot car drivers.

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  • verysceptical  |  December 18 2012, 6:11PM

    Bonzaharris "Not to mention absolute idiot car drivers, who try to overtake him before the road goes from one lane to two, and then crashes into the side of his lorry to avoid a car coming the over way !!" Who are as stupid as the idiot HGV drivers who will deliberately straddle two lanes in roadworks just to stop anyone else getting through. Last time I looked they didnt have Police or Highways Agency written on their trucks so therefore they should stick to what they are paid for and not style themselves as vigilantes of the highway.

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  • bonzaharris1  |  December 18 2012, 5:56PM

    Thats very informative eyeopener, just goes to show how quickly things can change, thank you.

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  • eyeopener  |  December 18 2012, 5:33PM

    Anyone wanting to enable their sat-nav to warn of low bridges should go to http://tinyurl.com/bo6ogms where they can download a file which will equip most the most popular makes of sat-nav. It has also been enhanced with Weight and Width Limits. You can then configure your sat-nav to only warn of bridges, weight limits and size relevant to your vehicle. It will even alert you to truck stops! Bridge heights change (resurfacing often changes bridge heights), new weight limits are always being introduced. Consequently files are updates monthly. This means that your car sat-nav will now be able to do most of things an HGV sat-nav can do, only a lot more cheaply. You can also set a maximum speed for car sat-navs so that journey time calculations can predict the time an HGV would take.

    Rate   2
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  • eyeopener  |  December 18 2012, 5:14PM

    @safeandnice If you are contravening a 7.5T limit you will be prosecuted. As explained before the 7.5T limits are meant to do more than simply protect the odd weak bridge. Some signs allow over weight vehicles for access, and some don't depending on the risk and the number of premises likely to need deliveries from vehicles that size.

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  • bonzaharris1  |  December 18 2012, 4:21PM

    Shireme, I believe you can get satnavs for HGV's, these take into account bridge heights, which is one of the biggest bane of a lorry drivers day, not sure about narrow lanes though. But as usual they cost a sight more than a car satnav. My husband uses a bog standard satnav in his lorry, but he only uses it to find addresses he is not familiar with to get him close. He does however use his eyesight and common sense and checks for vehicle restriction signs rather than blindly follow the satnav, which really should only be used as guidance to get you to your destination. I think the main problem with this lorry, is that he was from hungary, and he was not familiar with our signs and language. Dealt with a few french and spanish lorry drivers over the years, and mostly they cannot speak a word of english. You end up drawing maps, and a lot of arm waving !!

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