Other Road Users – sharing space on the roads

Commercial vehicle drivers have an obligation to be careful of the safety of other road users and are now held to a higher standard in law.

Recent changes to the Highway Code created a hierarchy of road users, with those who could do the most harm bearing the greatest responsibility for road safety. That means commercial vehicle drivers have specific personal responsibility for ensuring the safety of those more vulnerable than themselves and your organisation’s driving for work policy should detail your commitment to fulfilling this responsibility.

Fleet Managers – your duty of care

Fleet organisations therefore have a duty of care to ensure that fleet drivers are educated in how to drive safely around other road users. This is important even if a driver spends most of his time on the strategic road network, and not on urban or rural roads.

All fleet drivers should make sure they read and understand the new Highway Code rules, because they represent the standard used in court to determine whether a driver has acted appropriately and competently. The Highway Code changes follow on from years of vulnerable road users (VRUs) – particularly cyclists, and elderly and young pedestrians – being disproportionately killed or injured by commercial vehicles.

One in three fatalities and 39% of pedestrian fatalities involve an at-work driver. VRUs include all pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, as well as those in mobility scooters and one-scooters.

In 2022, 396 motorcyclists, 99 cyclists and 415 pedestrians died in reported road traffic collisions. That’s 910 out of the 1,760 people killed on the roads, or just over half, are not enclosed in a vehicle at the time of their deaths. A further 28,000 people received serious or life-changing injuries.

Remember: we are all vulnerable road users at times, as are our loved ones. Whatever vehicle we drive, we are also pedestrians, cyclists or using mobility aids at other times. When you pass a vulnerable road user, remember: that could be you.

Vehicles don’t crash. People do.

As head of Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention at National Highways, Mark Cartwright, recently said:

Vehicles don’t crash. People do. They just happen to be in a vehicle at the time.”

Whatever mode other road users are using, commercial vehicle drivers have a responsibility to move safely around them and to protect that person’s wellbeing as well as their own.

Other Road Users – what does this mean for your drivers?

There are helpful reminders and tips that you should be sharing with your drivers on a regular basis:

  • Remember that other road users, including van drivers and motorists, may be ignorant of the areas of limited vision in an HGV. Minimise blindspots and take extra care when pulling out or turning.
  • If you don’t drive an HGV, be aware that a truck driver may not be able to see you if you are directly alongside.
  • As a commercial vehicle driver, you are a professional on the road. You have skills and experience many road users do not. Use it to protect them, even from their own mistakes.
  • Anticipate other road users’ movements and presence, driving slowly enough to give yourself time to respond safely.
  • Pay particular attention at junctions, especially when turning left.
  • Give VRUs plenty of space when overtaking.
  • Be patient.
  • When you are walking or cycling, pay attention to how it feels when a driver comes too close or fails to stop for you – and remember that feeling when you next drive.
  • Always open your drivers’ door with your left hand, so that you have to look back before exiting the vehicle. This will prevent you opening the door onto an oncoming cyclist or motorcyclist

If you’d like to share more resources with anyone who drives for work in your organisation, visit our monthly fleet safety focus page – you can access manager resources inlcuding videos and posters, and you can also share the Drivers Resources page with your teams.



Simon Turner

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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