Foreign lorries, whose drivers sit on the left hand side of the cab, can not see vehicles overtaking on their right hand side. The Department of Transport issued 90,000 “Fresnel” lenses last December, a plastic attachment to the mirror which acts as a lens to increase visibility, to attempt to tackle the problem.
Accident Exchange, who were called to investigate over 100,000 reported road traffic incidents between March 2006 and March 2008, has calculated that one in every 350 accidents is caused by a “side-swipe” – where a vehicle pulls out across another’s path. Almost half of these occur on motorways, with 42 per cent of those taking place on the M25.
Steve Evans, chief executive of Accident Exchange, observed: “Too few UK motorists realise that left-hand drive HGVs are unable to see vehicles overtaking them on the right. A greater appreciation would help.”
“The rate of incidents may be rising, but so too is the escalating cost.”
Due to the size of the lorries, and the speed they are travelling, the insurance industry writes off one in ten motors after such an incident. Costs of repairs can easily exceed £5,000.