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The Dangers and Preventions of a Bridge Strike

Posted on the 3rd November 2016


(Source: bbc.co.uk)

Looking back at the recent accident on the M20, we’ve decided to remind ourselves of the important rules on how to prevent a bridge strike.

According to the 'Government Guide on Preventing Bridge Strikes for Transport Managers', 8% of accidents of this nature are due to “Drivers not believing signs”. I am confident our readers do believe and comply with these signs and wouldn’t risk causing such a serious accident as we saw at the beginning of September, but wanted to share some of the dangers associated with bridge strikes and how these accidents can be avoided.


The bridge strike on the M20 has numerous accounts, including articles from Kent Online and The Telegraph, declaring that it was the digger on the lorry that took the footbridge down, but the Single Track forum has some contrasting opinions about the events. Some say it was a coincidence that the lorry was passing under when the bridge collapsed as the structure itself was unstable, there are also some comments about whether the stability of the bridge was affected by expansion during the hot weather. Let us know your thoughts of the events and what might have happened.

Click on the article links below for more information about these accounts.

Some of the risks of a bridge strike outlined by Network Rail's "Prevention of Bridge Strikes" include;

  • Serious injury or death to other road users and members of the public
  • The same goes for your own personal well-being!
  • Disruption to road and/or rail networks causing delays and build up of traffic
  • Personal prosecution for offences which could result in fines, loss of licence or even imprisonment
  • There could also be consequences for your employer - such as being liable for costs to repair damages

Luckily, on this occasion there were no casualties with one motorcyclist suffering from injuries and others only suffering from a state of shock, but the dangers remain severe. Some of you may remember the accident that happened in South Africa near Johannesburg about two years ago. A giraffe was being transported to a game farm in Warmbarths when it collided with a bridge and died from it's injuries. You may not have the opportunity to transport giraffes any time soon but remember that your trailer hitting the bridge can still cause life threatening injury to a lot of people including yourself.

(click photo for more info on this story)

So, what are the key responsibilities to prevent a bridge strike?

  • Know your vehicle height and width!
  • Know your route
  • Abide by traffic signs - if the restrictions do apply to you find an alternative route, don't take the risk

For more information about how to avoid a bridge strike and what actions to take in case one should occur click below.