High vehicle - low bridges
Every day it is estimated that on average
around ten vehicles will be in collision with a bridge on the
Some of these collisions are minor
vehicle damage with just scratched paintwork, but others can
cause major structural damage and even lead to a loss of life.
It is an offence not to report bridge
strike, it is classed as a road collision.
If you are going to be driving a high
vehicle, before each journey you should know your vehicles
height both laden and unladen, it should be measured, there
should also be a notice in the cab telling you this.
Trailers may be higher than the tractor, so
be sure you know their height too. Always plan your journey to
avoid low bridges that you can not safely pass under. Bridges
lower than 16'3" should be marked on maps.
Bridges will usually have height indicators
attached or warning signs indicating the safe clearance height.
Network rail has many of its bridges involved in accidents.
This can endanger the safety of railway users if the rails are
moved with the risk of derailments.
With this in mind they have produced two
good practice booklets to raise awareness with drivers and
managers of the risks and consequences of bridge collisions, 'The
guide for professional drivers' and 'The
guide for freight transport managers'.
Sometimes bridge strikes are caused by
unsecured loads that may have shifted after the journey
commenced. The Department for
Transport has a code of practice for the
safety of loads on vehicles. Often in bridge collisions the
vehicle may shed it's load or even overturn, which can lead to
vehicle occupant injuries,
pedestrian injuries or other vehicles becoming involved in
caused by the collision, in bad cases even fatalities.
Drivers and their companies may be liable to
prosecution if they are involved in bridge strikes for road