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Letters to Fleet News' editor Martyn Moore.

Work together to solve problem

The letter “Keep left-hand units out of UK” (Fleet News, January 3) is another example of what millions of people on the continent consider as “Britain’s splendid isolation”.

Britain remains one of the few countries where we drive on the left.

So how can David Taylor state, without it being taken as a joke, that “the others are driving on the “wrong side?”

I would like to submit a few observations:

 

  • Does Mr Taylor know how many foreign HGVs travel across this country by comparison with how many UK HGVs travel across the continent? My guess is that we are outnumbered and, unless he is involved in the manufacture of right-hand drive lorries, how does he plan to provide enough units to pull the thousands of trailers that come across the Channel every day?

     

  • UK HGVs on the continent are just as dangerous as continental ones over here.

     

  • If his suggestion was to be considered, how many UK drivers would end up unemployed?

     

  • Tackling the problem means sitting down with various representatives of the profession in Europe and adapting the vehicles to the requirements of our comparatively small country. We are the problem more than they are. It may involve electronic equipment and Fresnel lenses for all cross-border travellers.

     

  • There should be greater implementation of insurance cover checks and procedures, here and there. But exactly the same applies to UK drivers and veh-icles involved in accidents on the continent.

    Mr Taylor may be a very good man, but he should broaden his scope and be less narrow-minded – or should that be less British?

    John Anthony, managing director, Mex 21

    Would 'our trucks' be banned

    Regarding the banning of left-hand trucks on UK roads would Europe and elsewhere consider banning our trucks from their roads?

    I appreciate the reasoning as my company had a car sideswiped and written off by a left-hand drive truck.

    The truck was coming down a slip road when it did not see our vehicle.

    Fortunately the driver was not injured but was shaken up.

    I was under the impression that all left-hand drive cars and trucks were to have stickers on their headlamps to redirect the beam and not blind drivers on our roads.

    This does not seem to be happening.

    Is there any check on left-hand drive cars and trucks coming into the country?

    On a separate issue, it would appear that the information and suggestions about using dipped headlights in inclement weather or driving when the sky is overcast are not being heeded.

    Many drivers are using side lights (a complete waste of time) or no lights at all (even worse).

    Is it not about time that it was made compulsory for drivers to use dipped headlights at all times?

    This would rule out any confusion.

    Les Chandler, logistics officer, Dark Horse Agency

    Should ban work the other way too?

    With reference to the letter, I presume that the writer would also recommend that all UK registered right-hand drive vehicles do not stray beyond our shores?

    That includes the hundreds of thousands of cars that travel extensively throughout mainland Europe every year, both for business and pleasure.

    Perhaps it is about time we resurrected the call to change the side of the road on which we drive?

    Brian Middleton, fleet manager, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service

    Benefits outweigh

    In response to Fred Macdonald’s letter “He cannot be serious” (Fleet News, January 10) in which he describes my view that hands-free mobile phones can be dangerous as “nonsense”, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Hopefully, he might decide to take up the two-hour challenge that he has been offered.

    It’s worth noting that the offer was made by an advanced driving instructor who, it appears, shares my view.

    The point he raises about satellite navigation systems is valid and worth addressing.

    While they certainly can be a distraction and therefore a danger, this is outweighed by the fact that their primary purpose is to get you to your destination via the optimum route.

    They reduce your mileage and time on the road, and your exposure to risk.

    If you don’t get lost, you cover less miles, you’re less likely to be late, and therefore less likely to be speeding or stressed. So there is a safety benefit as well as an environmental one.

    In addition, looking at a sat-nav screen is a safer option than trying to read a road map while driving which is, in reality, what happens in their absence.

    I recall a few years ago travelling behind a Saab on the M40 whose entire windscreen was obscured by a huge fold out map.

    Every five seconds or so he would peer round the edge of his map to make sure the way was clear.

    If by some miracle this person is still alive, hopefully he now has a sat-nav.

    Len Benson, Peter Lole & Co

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