Your location is set to Dartford
Published: 10:37, 07 August 2002 |
THE steep rise in foreign juggernauts on the M2 and M20 is posing a serious accident risk to local drivers, a Kent haulage chief has warned. Hugh Thompson, managing director of Seymour Transport, said the situation was worse since asylum seekers forced rail freight operators to curtail their operations.
He claims that because foreign drivers are used to less congested roads and have left-hand drive blind spots, they are more prone to accidents. According to Kent Police, foreign trucks are involved in an accident every 1.8 days - about four a week - in the county.
Mr Thompson says that mothers driving their children to school when the autumn term starts in September would be at particular risk if they used the county's motorways. "I think there's going to be a big accident soon," he said.
He is urging police to introduce variable speed limits in the county and raise public awareness of the risks. Foreign drivers did not have lower standards, he said, it was just that they tended to come out suddenly to avoid braking.
Mr Thompson said: "The overtaking manoeuvre has to be done at the last minute. The moment you see you've got an advantage, when you're driving an HGV, you tend to take it. The moment you lose that advantage, you're stuck behind for another 10 miles or so.
"When you're in a left-hand drive vehicle, you've got a blind spot on the right-hand corner. If you're in a right-hand drive vehicle, your blind spot is on the left-hand side but you tend not to get people overtaking on the left so there are fewer accidents that way."
The Freight Transport Association, based in Tunbridge Wells, said the number of foreign lorries on Kent roads was increasing every day. Heavy vehicles were involved in fewer accidents than cars, but when they happened they were usually serious.
"I've no real reason to suggest that foreign drivers are at all inferior to UK drivers," said FTA spokesman Geoff Dossetter. "But on the other hand, when I'm driving abroad I forget where I am and make the odd mistake.
"No matter how much the experience, you do revert to natural driving habits at some stage."
A spokeswoman for Kent police said there had been no "significant" increase in recent accidents involving foreign lorries. But because of the blind spot, police encouraged people to take extra care when overtaking.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.