Bridge strikes are inconvenient, costly and potentially dangerous. Last year there were more than 1,600 collisions across the UK, causing more than £20 million in damage. Do you drive a high vehicle? Here are some of the best products to help you avoid low bridges.
It’s not just the cost in terms of money that goes with a bridge strike – hours can be lost by the train services and on the road network as engineers survey, evaluate and repair yet another bridge that has been hit by a van, truck or other high-sided vehicle.
Last year’s 1,624 bridge strikes equate to an average of five accidents a day across the UK. And, although numbers have fallen over the last five years (there were more than 2,000 alone in 2018) it is still a major problem for road and rail authorities.
Bridge strike campaign
Network Rail, which owns the railway infrastructure including 30,000 bridges, has been running a campaign called ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ since 2018 to educate drivers and help them plan ahead.
The campaign began after the company revealed that 43% of lorry drivers admitted they did not know the height or width of their vehicle and 52% didn’t even consider low bridges before setting off on a journey.
The organisation is now allowed to claim back the costs for repairing damage to bridges and actively seeks to do this. Previously much of this cost was footed by the British taxpayer. Some bridge strikes are ‘hit and run’ which still leaves Network Rail with large bills.
Today there is plenty of technology designed to help van and truck drivers plan their routes and actively avoid low bridges or areas, such as tight bends or weight restricted bridges, where their vehicle’s height, weight or width could cause a problem.
So what’s available? Here’s is some of the best technology you can buy today:
Snooper Truckmate Bridge-Saver
The Bridge-Saver does what it says, offering a new large vehicle driving aid, specifically designed to protect against bridge strikes. You set the height and width of the vehicle and the driver is alerted before reaching an impassable bridge or tunnel. The five-inch LCD displays vehicle details and GPS speed.
Aguri Truck TX520 DVR Professional
Avoids low bridges plus many other hazards using Aguri’s satellite navigation systems. The set-up includes free lifetime map and speed camera updates and five-inch colour LCD screen with built-in dash-cam. Drivers can choose between UK & Ireland mapping or, for £50 more, full European coverage.
Garmin dezl LGV 610
The 610 contains detailed maps of Europe that include truck-related restrictions such as bridge heights, dangerous curves and weight limits for most major roads and motorways. Enter your vehicle’s height, weight, length and width to find truck-preferred routes suitable for your size and load. You can also create multiple-stop routes, plan and save trips. The 610 model has a six-inch screen, but there are versions up to ten inches available for larger vehicles
Aguri Truck TX740 PRO
Helps drivers and their trucks stay out of trouble and avoid low bridges, along with many other hazards. Using Aguri’s navigation routing software it finds ways around height and weight restrictions. It’s ready to go immediately and features a full colour seven-inch LCD screen and enhanced loud speaker for instructions.
Snooper Truckmate SC5900
Designed by established company Snooper specifically to help truck drivers navigate roads safely and more efficiently. It has a built-in dash cam which is useful if it came to making an insurance claim while its multi-route technology can find roads that avoid hazards such as low bridges. Other features include European mapping and the facility to locate the nearest AdBlue filling station.
Snooper Truckmate S6900
Snooper’s Truckmate S6900 with active magnetic mount, is an advanced satellite navigation system dedicated to safe, efficient routing for professional drivers. Featuring Snooper’s award-winning street level truck navigation set-up it comes with a new active magnetic mount for ease of use.
TomTom Go Professional 6250
The Professional range of truck satnavs are designed for large vehicles. There are regular updates via wi-fi to keep information up to speed, including European revisions. Enter your vehicle’s length, height and weight and the system customises you a route without the guesswork, but with a realistic arrival time. Traffic and speed camera alerts are built-in.
Sygic Truck & Caravan GPS Navigation
Available for your phone or tablet, the manufacturer says it’s the most installed truck navigation App available. Featuring custom routing it also has accurate offline maps if you stray into mobile dead spots. To set up with the size of your vehicle, select ‘Truck’ or ‘Van’ and set the length, height, weight, width and number of axles. Speed limits, camera warning and fuel price information are all included.
Price: £22 per year