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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 20:18 
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i am travelling along the M25 at 44 tonnes in the inside lane. the middle and outer lanes are flowing steadily past but busy (its the M25).
approaching an onslip, i spot 2 cars trying to get on the carriageway and they are slowing rapidly as they are running out of sliproad. i cant go anywhere due to the flow of traffic next to me so i carry on but ease off the throttle 'just in case'. next thing i know, the second car (the one behind) pulls out and brakes to allow the first car to join. the first car is hesitant and does nothing to correct their action ie putting the foot down. this leaves me with 3 options:
1. slam on and hope like hell that i can hold the rig straight
2. plough into the back of the second (probably the first too) car while braking less harshly
3. swerve to the left bearing in mind it is a slip road and i cant see much on that side

as it happens, i slammed on and dropped from 56 to 30 in nanoseconds (somehow) without any major incident. the full beams and horn were on much longer than the brakes. this could quite easily have turned into a serious pile up though considering the weight of the load could have caused a jacknife which would wipe out all 3 lanes with the possibility of going through the central reservation. if this had happened, i very much doubt that these 2 idiots would have stopped to admit causing this carnage which would presumably leave me sitting there waiting for the police to arrive and remove my licence even though it was not my fault

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 21:15 
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I think I learn that people just won't drive along the hard shoulder a bit to get themselves out of trouble. They would rather cause an accident than use the sacred tarmac.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 05:07 
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How about look at the traffic and look for a gap and adjust your speed to meet the gap rather than blatting along or pootling and then blindly cutting in.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:15 
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The dangers and difficulties of merging traffic streams are considerable. The first choice (of course) is to stay well out of it if possible. In practice that means moving to L2 or L3 and suspending overtaking. But with the levels of traffic in the situation described, that probably wasn't practical, especially for a truck.

But the clue is there. Passing merging traffic is overtaking, and at merges overtaking should be suspended. That means if some doddery old git is coming down the slip road ahead of you at 35mph, you have to reduce speed to 35mph so you don't overtake him. In the real world sometimes braking to 35mph might be more dangerous than deciding to overtake, so there are going to be judgement calls.

I also think there's a common misconception that merging traffic must 'give way'. That's NOT what it says in the Highway Code - and even if it did, it wouldn't be worth risking an accident to take your 'rightful priority'.

But if the plan is not to overtake slip road traffic, it turns out that you normally have plenty of time to adjust speed to match.

If the shoe is on the other foot and we're now the merging vehicle, and we're running out of slip road, this qualifies as an emergency and we should carry on on the hard shoulder until we can merge safely. NEVER brake to a stop on the slip road when traffic is moving at normal speed. If the hard shoulder is obstructed ahead, then the hard shoulder is the best place to brake to a stop.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:22 
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scanny77 it appears to me that you did the correct things, and that the two other drivers were at fault: the first because he didn't make any attempt to match speed to the motorway, and the second for being a well intentioned pillock but with no consideration for the real situation. Yes both could have used the hard shoulder, or at least having joined, the second car should have overtaken the first and left them stranded in a mess of their own making. There is almost no justification for forcing emergency action onto existing vehicles on the motorway, although I can think of two possible (very slight) mitigation's: a) the vehicles on the motorway were tailgating and not allowing any space to join (not you - there was obviously space for at least two cars), or b) it was one of many very badly designed junctions that are too short to allow average vehicles to reach 56mph.

On the plus side, even had their been an accident, and these drivers had just driven off, it is likely that the whole incident would have been captured on CCTV.

The preventative solution is education of the car drivers, but given that Motorway driving is not part of the driving test, and that the needle stuck message is that slowing down is the only thing that matters, I don't suppose that we are going to see any educational messages that suggest that speeding up is that safest thing to do.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:46 
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Years (in fact around 25 years) ago, as a passenger, driven by a (then X) Class 1 police driver in a Granada in an otherwise similar situation on a crowded M1, but paradoxically L1 was moving faster than the outer lanes (might have been road works coming up or something - I was barely awake!), the self same thing happened. I have no idea how much Bob had anticipated, but he calmly pulled left and around both of the mergers nearside, just clipping the bank to miss the leftmost merger who was still mostly in the slip road.

I don't think that was a course the average driver would want to take, particularly in a rig like Scanny, but I felt entirely reassured throughout that Bob was in full control. He turned to me with a reassuring smile within a second of the passing manouevre.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:55 
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Rewolf wrote:
scanny77 it appears to me that you did the correct things, and that the two other drivers were at fault...


Correct, perhaps. Defensive or advanced? I'm guessing not.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 17:25 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
I also think there's a common misconception that merging traffic must 'give way'. That's NOT what it says in the Highway Code - and even if it did, it wouldn't be worth risking an accident to take your 'rightful priority'.


i would suggest you take a quick look at the relevant section. i dont have my copy to hand but one thing that i am adamant about and this is it:
when joining the motorway (or any type of highway for that matter), you should not cause any other road user to change speed or direction!
i think that you will find that the lines at the end of the slip road mean GIVE WAY!

i did give a clear description of the circumstances for a reason. the fact that i was travelling full speed (my lane was clear) with those traffic levels meant that any action that i took could have created a problem. i couldnt move over and with a 45 foot trailer behind me, i cannot see directly behind therefore slowing down to allow anyone to join would be dangerous. my only option was to carry on and observe the actions of these 2 prats.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 19:57 
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scanny77 wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
I also think there's a common misconception that merging traffic must 'give way'. That's NOT what it says in the Highway Code - and even if it did, it wouldn't be worth risking an accident to take your 'rightful priority'.


i would suggest you take a quick look at the relevant section. i dont have my copy to hand but one thing that i am adamant about and this is it:
when joining the motorway (or any type of highway for that matter), you should not cause any other road user to change speed or direction!
i think that you will find that the lines at the end of the slip road mean GIVE WAY!


http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/23.htm#233

Joining the motorway

233: When you join the motorway you will normally approach it from a road on the left (a slip road) or from an adjoining motorway. You should
* give priority to traffic already on the motorway
* check the traffic on the motorway and adjust your speed to fit safely into the traffic flow in the left-hand lane
* not cross solid white lines that separate lanes
* stay on the slip road if it continues as an extra lane on the motorway
* remain in the left-hand lane long enough to adjust to the speed of traffic before considering overtaking.


I don't rate 'give priority to' as the same as 'give way to'. It's more like 70/30 rather than 100/0 if you see what I mean.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 20:05 
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point noted and well done on the way you responded ei providing a link and quotation. nicely done :D

considering these 2 numpties failed to adhere to any of those quoted with the exception of not crossing a solid line, i still fail to see what i could have done to prevent the inevitable. they were coming no matter what. you know it, i know it, they knew it although the actual execution of this particular case of stupidity did surprise me. :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 20:09 
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SafeSpeed wrote:

I don't rate 'give priority to' as the same as 'give way to'. It's more like 70/30 rather than 100/0 if you see what I mean.


just to be pernickity (dontcha love me? :lol: )
highway code sign with red circle, small red arrow pointing up and big black arrow pointing down. the highway codes tells you that this sign means 'give priority to oncoming traffic' but this sign is normally accompanied by give way lines on the road

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 21:58 
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considering these 2 numpties failed to adhere to any of those quoted with the exception of not crossing a solid line, i still fail to see what i could have done to prevent the inevitable


What sort of length is the slip road and when did you first eyeball these two? If long enough/early enough, despite the size of your rig and the lack of visibility immediately behind you, it is likely that you should be able to spot the probability of a pinch point and be able to brake moderately very early, possibly even with a "flash flash" or similar giving a good indication to them that they can go and to get on with it - and also without causing anytihing too sudden behind you.

Yes, I know it galls - you will lose hard-earned momentum and possibly have to do a few gearshifts - and use another quart of DERV. BUT - you are asking what to be learned. In a car, I would avoid a pinch point at all costs, ideally by getting tarmac space between the merger and me by filtering into the next lane, but if that's not on (and it clearly wasn't in your case), by either braking or accelerating as early as possible, and supplemented by either a flash (brake) or prolonged full beam (accelerating) to give maximum indication to as many folk as possible what I was up to.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 13:27 
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scanny77 wrote:
considering these 2 numpties failed to adhere to any of those quoted with the exception of not crossing a solid line, i still fail to see what i could have done to prevent the inevitable. they were coming no matter what.


Obviously the first car wasn't.

In your first post you say you eased off. Perhaps if you had made it a little more obvious you were making room, perhaps with a flash of the headlights (shock horror, a flash for a car driver!!!) then the first car would have moved out. The second, obviously not so timid driver (well he did think he could stop 44tons with his rear end) would have probably squeezed in and then shot off to L2.

OK, bad marks all round.

Car 1 should have adjusted his speed to meet traffic, I guess he/she was also under the assumption that traffic on the sliproad has to give way.

Car 2 it seems knows he doesn't have to give way (or doesn't care either way) but really he should have been finding his own space not trying to squeeze into someone else's. He would have served himself better by aiming to join behind you then pass the slower car by getting into L2 and thus having priority.

And you could have done a little more to help out.

The ens result as it happened you all lost.

It's a fairly common ocurrance, you get a timid driver coming to a stop with an agressive one behind getting irate and then making a bad decision. It's down to training, motorways aren't included in the driving test and DCs are a poor substitute.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 14:11 
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There was a case in the Courts about this, where a car driver pulled out in front of a truck, and then hit the brakes, causing the truck to tap his rear end.
the Truck driver was charged, I think, with dangerous driving.
In court, an expert witness was called, the Editor of Truck and Driver magazine, Scanny you may remember this.
Dave Young, the Editor, explained that as part of his job, he and his team had test driven hundreds of different trucks, and this particular model, DAF 95 xf, and explianed that they had brought up visibility questions with the manufacturer, and also that this particular truck was fully laden, the suspension was on air, the cab mounts were on air and the drivers seat was on air, so the Truck Driver would probably not seen the brake lights of the car come on, and more than likely wouldn't have even felt such a minor impact.
He then asked if rule 233 of the highway code and laws RTA sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1), 16(1) & 25 had been repealed.
The truck driver was exonerated, and the car driver then charged with dangerous driving.
Basically, the joining traffic gives way to the already on the motorway traffic.
We truck drivers WILL allow other vehicles to join safely, if it is safe to do so, but if the traffic is flowing quickly, and there is traffic in the lane next to you, there is now way that we can without potentially putting those other road users into danger.

RANT
I myself am sick to death of numpty car drivers, even those in powerful cars, who snails pace onto a motoway, then hold a truck in the middle lane while they find out where the accelerator is, and when they think they have screwed up the previously rapid but stable traffic flow enough, then stick their toe down and zoom off into the sunset, often with fingers waving.
I can't count the times I have had cars crawling up the sliproad, finding me in their way, because there is nowhere for me to go, they then drop in behind me, then zoom out into lane 3 and give ME the finger, like Errr, what did I do wrong, other than nothing.
I have also had cars, And trucks, pull out of laybys with little or no indication, expecting me to be able to stopp 44ton of truck in a few yards, or pull out into solid traffic on the outside of me.
RANT OVER.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 13:16 
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the slip road was long enough for them to get up to at least 60MPH as it was downhill. they had the room in front of me to but they hesitated instead and at the last second, pulled out in front of me.
matching my speed to theirs would have been far more dangerous as it would have meant knocking approx 20MPH off my speed on a busy motorway in a relatively short space ie beyond light braking.
i believe my actions were correct and that is how i would do it again ie easing off and watching the sliproad for idiots like them. you cannot predict what people like that will do but at least you can be ready for stupidity

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 16:49 
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scanny77 wrote:
matching my speed to theirs would have been far more dangerous as it would have meant knocking approx 20MPH off my speed on a busy motorway in a relatively short space ie beyond light braking.


I agree, the one thing you could have done better is to make it more obvious you were making space for them to join. After that it's up to them to make use of it. If it was another truck I am sure you would have given them the customary flash.

It may not have even made any difference, the first car may have decided he was stopping long before he got to the end of the sliproad.

Like I said, everyone contributed, some more than others.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 13:03 
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Homer wrote:
scanny77 wrote:
matching my speed to theirs would have been far more dangerous as it would have meant knocking approx 20MPH off my speed on a busy motorway in a relatively short space ie beyond light braking.


I agree, the one thing you could have done better is to make it more obvious you were making space for them to join. After that it's up to them to make use of it. If it was another truck I am sure you would have given them the customary flash.



true but then again, a trucker would have had his foot down to try and match his speed. he/she would certainly not have applied the brakes before joining anyway

i wasnt actually slowing to let them join anyway. easing off was purely a precautionary decision. had they made more of an effort to get up to speed then i would have flashed them in but the difference in speed would render that move as unnecessarily dangerous to anything behind me. im sorry but i dont see any justification for flashing someone in who is travelling 20MPH slower than you are when you have nowhere else to go. had the middle lane been clear, i would have moved over before the slip road joined. that goes for any vehicle type

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 20:14 
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i wasnt actually slowing to let them join anyway. easing off was purely a precautionary decision. had they made more of an effort to get up to speed then i would have flashed them in but the difference in speed would render that move as unnecessarily dangerous to anything behind me. im sorry but i dont see any justification for flashing someone in who is travelling 20MPH slower than you are when you have nowhere else to go. had the middle lane been clear, i would have moved over before the slip road joined. that goes for any vehicle type


If that is the case, I suggest you could have perhaps taken better control early on with full beam headlights and a steadsy blast of the hooter - long before they pulled out.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 20:23 
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i didnt realise they were pulling out. they were braking on the sliproad then the second car shot across the line and hit the brakes again so the first car could move over too. i was ready for it but i didnt expect it to actually happen. you can be the best in the world at anticipation, you could be the most observant driver on the planet but someone will still do the unexpected. the best thing to do is be ready for anything

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 20:40 
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Hi Richie.
Sounds to me like you did the right thing, you can't easily allow for some of these idiots. As you say, if you slow down too much you annoy the person behind, if you don't slow down you risk ramming the car driver off the road and you can't always pull out into the middle lane.
Personally, whatever I'm driving I tailor my speed to match that of vehicles already on the motorway, and that sometimes means slowing down to allow someone already on the motorway to get past. If I'm the one on the motorway I try and let people in if I can do so safely, but I won't cause someone in the middle lane to slow down, or slow down on the motorway too much myself. What I also won't do is amble along to the end of the on slip in a little world of my own, then indicate once and pull on in front of an artic as so many car drivers seem to do these days :x .
We truck drivers generally try and accommodate car drivers but they don't always make it easy for us!


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