Think HIT

Road Safety Week – Preventing vehicle rollaways

This week’s Road Safety Week will be highlighting the very serious issue of vehicle rollaways involving Royal Mail and Parcelforce vehicles.

Road Safety Week is aimed at reinforcing the safety standards and ‘mandatory controls’ required when parking vehicles, to prevent rollaway incidents from occurring.

There have been a worrying number of Royal Mail/Parcelforce vehicle rollaway incidents over the past 12 months. Already this year, Royal Mail vehicles have rolled away on 137 occasions. These are extremely dangerous and terrifying events whereby drivers are unable to take any action to prevent a collision with either other vehicles, pedestrians or third-party property.

These incidents can lead to personal injury, death and many thousands of pounds worth of damage. Several drivers have received serious injuries trying to stop Royal Mail/Parcelforce vans, which have rolled away.

The introduction of parcel runs into Deliveries means that vehicles are starting and stopping far more often. This increases the risk of a vehicle rolling away if drivers fail to apply basic, standard safe driving procedures. Although rollaways involving HGVs are rare, they do happen, and the results can obviously be devastating.

When you are parking your vehicle, remember the following:

  • Remember the HIT acronym – Handbrake on, In Gear, Turn the wheels.
  • Applying the handbrake – apply the handbrake with the footbrake applied and pull the lever ‘over the ratchet’ – click, click, click. DO NOT depress the handbrake lever button as this can allow it to drop one or two clicks when you release it. Apply it fully and check that it is fully applied as most rollaways occur when handbrakes are only partially applied.
  • Handbrake sensors – some vans are now fitted with sensors, which measure the tension in the handbrake cables and will warn the driver if the handbrake has not been sufficiently applied.
  • Electric handbrakes – some newer vehicles have a ‘switch’ operated electric handbrake which is very effective – ensure drivers are fully aware of the operation.

Handbrakes are not perfect - and can fail for several reasons. Mechanical failures do occasionally occur, drivers can fail to apply them fully, and sometimes, drivers can forget to apply them altogether. 

Always leave the vehicle in gear, even on level ground. Slight inclines, pot-holes or even the camber of the road can start a vehicle rolling.

Automatic vehicles – if you drive an automatic, leave the vehicle in ‘Park’ or the equivalent for that vehicle. Automatic HGVs may need to be left in neutral.

Turn the Wheels – to the kerb, or to a safe point.  If the vehicle were to roll, where would you want it to go? Never leave a vehicle idling – if it’s idling, it’s not in gear! The vehicle will also be unlocked. 

Thieves are targeting Royal Mail/Parcelforce vans – always leave your vehicle secure, locked and with any mail items out of sight in the rear load space – and not on view!

LGV drivers must follow the BLACK process when uncoupling/coupling, to avoid rollaway.

  • Brake – apply the trailer brake
  • Legs – lower the landing legs
  • Airlines – disconnect all airlines/leads
  • Clip – unclip the dog clip
  • Kingpin – release the kingpin by pulling the handle

Reverse the process when coupling – KCALB. NEVER try to stop a moving vehicle.

1 Mar 2021