Lorries sat-nav plea to avoid roads chaos move in right direction
- Credit: TomTom
Would you cross a field in flip-flops rather than wellies because they are made of rubber? Now councils want lorries to be forced to use special sat-nav devices to avoid unsuitable routes, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
I sometimes despair about the blinding faith some people put in modern technology, considering it a substitute for common sense, claar thinking and planning ahead.
Take satellite-navigation systems for instance. Not only do many people not even look at a road maps any more before setting off, let alone own one, but they just carry on regardless because 'she' – as the default voice seems to be a woman – must be right.
Then there's the question of the sat-nav being fit for purpose – a device for a car is geared for that size of vehicle so not ideal if you are driving a 44-tonne juggernaut when narrow roads and tricky, tight junctions become no-go routes. It's like crossing a muddy field in flip-flops rather than welly boots because they are both made of rubber! You'll probably fall flat on your face... as is often the case with these 'misguided' lorries.
Every week we hear stories of articulated lorries getting wedged between buildings, demolishing structures and coming to a sticky end down some lane – unable to go forward or backwards, blocked in by a queue of cars behind.
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Now councils are calling for a ban on lorry drivers using sat-nav devices designed for cars after a spate of heavy goods vehicles using roads for which they are too heavy or too high with chaotic consequences on the nation's roads.
Sat-navs designed for use in lorries, like the TomTom Trucker, are designed to stop lorries, trucks and vans getting wedged down narrow country lanes by diverting them away from unsuitable roads.
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The devices may cost a little more but it's a small price to pay compared to the amount of damage a lorry can do taking an unsuitable route.
With a commercial vehicle sat-nav unit, truck drivers can input their vehicle's length, width, height, weight and maximum permitted speed so allowing the sat-nav to plan a route that avoids winding rural roads and low bridges. But, unlike a sat-nav unit designed for car, one for a lorry can quickly be adapted for normal car use once the driver has stepped down from his cab.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, wants it to be made law that all lorry drivers who use sat-navs to have to use a commercial one.
That certainly seems to be a sensible move in the right direction to my mind.