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IMPORTANT SAFETY ISSUE: Driving vintage Military Vehicles on High Speed Roads

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I've had many close calls in convoys over the years as tail end Charlie/ REME cover. Whilst in a Bedford it wasn't too much of a worry, but when in a Landrover or Pinz, I felt very vulnerable with trucks approaching in excess of 80mph at times.

 

The worst near miss, was whilst a passenger in the back of the 432 on my tracked vehicle license course. We were on a duel carriageway almost flat out at 30mph, dry, bright day, lights on, beacon flashing, large L plate, reflective rear plates, when a small van approached very quickly from the rear, closely followed by a Volvo estate. I think the van driver was probably trying to outrun the Volvo, and was watching his mirrors rather too much!

 

Eventually with a distance of less than 30 foot remaining he must have finally noticed us, disappeared in clouds of tyre smoke, and eventually missed us by inches, the Volvo shot up the hard shoulder somehow. At the time it seemed quite funny, made more so by the fact that neither our driver nor commander saw any of the action. Had the van driver hit us followed by the Volvo, it would have been very different!

 

I always run both the Scammell and the Militant with amber beacons and lights on, both day and night. On faster roads it shows other drivers there's something different/slow ahead, and similarly around lanes the beacons give oncoming drivers a lot more warning that something hazardous is coming around the corner, especially at dusk/night time.

 

I do run on duel carriageways, but try to avoid motorways if there is a sensible alternative. The bridge at the Dartford crossing is SLOW in the Militant! It has a 4' wide Long Vehicle reflective plate on the back too, which possibly helps a bit at night too? Whilst I'd hate to be rear ended in either of my trucks, I do feel fairly certain that I am unlikely to be seriously hurt, unlike those in smaller vehicles.

 

My experience with the 432 showed that whatever you do there will always be idiots out there, but if there are simple ways to get yourself noticed without distracting other drivers too much, then why not? Maybe it was the beacon on the 432 which saved the van drivers life?

 

Jules

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I've lost count of the number of times some impatient b*gg*r has attempted to over-take us whilst towing the caravan and who got level with the rear of the car before noticing (a) the bloody great tractor in front slowing us down and (b) the vehicle coming the other way on the side of the road he is now occupying.

All we can ever do is hit the brakes hard to open a gap for the idiot to get into... I live in dread of the day we feel an almighty bang from behind as idiot #2 ploughs into the caravan from having closed the gap too early...

Same thing applies when rumbling along in MV's - if there are two or more of us I usually am ready to brake if a similar idiot occurrence eventuates..

 

Stupidest incident that ever happened was in East London, Driving an RL back to the drill hall in the Mile End road loaded with ammunition we stopped at a set of traffic lights - and just as the lights changed to move off we felt a god-almighty bang from the back of the truck. Two old guys in a Bedford CA van had driven straight in to the back of the RL! The RL was a glossy DBG with the colourful unit markings for the RCT and London area plus the yellow/orange diagonal reflective plates on the tailgate - oh and red flags on the corners. Both of the CA occupants said they never saw it.....

Luckily they were wearing belts and the nose of the CA had gone under the pintle acting as an inpromptu crumple zone so no one was hurt.

 

As for the "slow down for a look" phenomenon - how many times have you been involved in a tail-back on one carriage-way because the tw*ts are slowing down to gawp at the prang on the other carriage way!!

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Have been chatting about this thread with my dad and father in law. Dad has been driving lorries and coaches all his working life and just stopped at 73. He lost a very dear friend a few years back who was a recovery operator. Despite all the flashing lights on a Scania wrecker a lorry drove straight into the back of the wrecker on the hard shoulder and killed dad's friend outright. Father in law is ex traffic cop and says he and his colleages were warned about the phenomenon where drivers are attracted to flashing lights on the hard shoulder like a moth to a flame. It seems that we zone out (probably the micro sleep Mike is talking about) and don't realise we are heading straight towards the police car/recovery lorry until it is too late. He says a number of patrol cars were totally written off this way and they were told to park the vehicle diagonally facing the verge so that it would be pushed off the road in the event of a rear end shunt. If flashing light s don't work I can't think what else could be done to stay safe

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http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/regulation/11/made

-----------------

 

It is all in the SI , like always , takes a bit of reading to decide how a reasonably sensible person can come to a conclusion on any issue.

 

From Sections of the above :-

 

2) No vehicle shall be fitted with a lamp which is capable of showing any light to the rear, other than a red light, except–(a)amber light from a direction indicator or side marker lamp;

 

(l)amber light from a warning beacon fitted to–

 

(iv)a vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph or any trailer drawn by such a vehicle;

 

(ix)a vehicle used for escort purposes when travelling at a speed not exceeding 25 mph;

 

-------

 

Unfortunately with all these Regulations , there are few definitions in the Schedule

 

The regulations don't define what "escort purposes" are , likewise there seems to be no legal definition of a "convoy"..

 

A sensible precaution would be when hovering at about 30 mph to use a beacon , are the police interested in following slow moving MV's with a speed camera to gather evidence of speeding misuse ? - also I presume more than one vehicle in a line where the drivers route directions (under acknowleged leadership) are common intentions - then we have a convoy ?

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http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/regulation/11/made

-----------------

 

It is all in the SI , like always , takes a bit of reading to decide how a reasonably sensible person can come to a conclusion on any issue.

 

From Sections of the above :-

 

2) No vehicle shall be fitted with a lamp which is capable of showing any light to the rear, other than a red light, except–(a)amber light from a direction indicator or side marker lamp;

 

(l)amber light from a warning beacon fitted to–

 

(iv)a vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph or any trailer drawn by such a vehicle;

 

(ix)a vehicle used for escort purposes when travelling at a speed not exceeding 25 mph;

 

-------

 

Unfortunately with all these Regulations , there are few definitions in the Schedule

 

The regulations don't define what "escort purposes" are , likewise there seems to be no legal definition of a "convoy"..

 

A sensible precaution would be when hovering at about 30 mph to use a beacon , are the police interested in following slow moving MV's with a speed camera to gather evidence of speeding misuse ? - also I presume more than one vehicle in a line where the drivers route directions (under acknowleged leadership) are common intentions - then we have a convoy ?

 

No mention of amber beacons used to warn of overlength or overwidth loads then? They travel more than 25mph.

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Dunno - getting a bit out of my field, possibly if you have one of those "convoy exceptional" boards - then you do as you like if you consider correct under the circumstances , regardless of Regulations , Dept. of Transport bodies or the Police ?

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No mention of amber beacons used to warn of overlength or overwidth loads then? They travel more than 25mph.

General rules are covered by

Road Vehicle Lighting Regs 1989

 

Main points seem to be ;_

 

Excecpt for emergency vehicles it is an offence to fit a blue beacon ( or one resembling it whether working or not. Reg 16)

 

Beacon fitted must be visible at any point a reasonable distance behind the vehicle.

 

May be be Blue Amber Green or yellow. Which color you can use covered by Reg 11. (see my next post)

 

Light must flash regularly at between 60 and 240 equal times per minute.

 

Minimum height from ground is 1200mm. (to centre of lamp)

 

 

It is an offence to run on an unrestricted dual carriageway on which it is lawful to travel at 50 MPH or more with a vehicle having four or more wheels having a max speed not exceeding 25MPH, unless this vehicle has at least one amber beacon fitted. Reg 17 This does not apply to a vehicle manufactured before 1. 1. 1947, or to a vehicle or trailer only quickly crossing the dual carriageway. I.e. Wartime vehicles incapable of 25MPH do not HAVE to show an Amber Beacon when on a 50MPH or faster Dual Carriageway.

 

For wide loads see reg 11 -2 (l) (v). This appears in next post and covers width's over 2.9m I cannot see provision for over length vehicles or loads. And although they do travel at more than 25MPH this is often not lawful. It is often requested of them by the Police Escort, but the Speed limit for an AILV can be either 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40 MPH depending on particular towing vehicle and the weight it is carrying.

 

The road itself may impose a lower speed than the speed limit applied to the vehicle. All Cat2 or 3 STGO are limited to 35 MPH on Dual Carriageway and 30 MPH on other roads (yes i Know that one is never observed, but that is the rule.)

Edited by antarmike

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Regulation 11 Road Vehicle Lighting Regs

 

This reg covers colour of Beacon than can be fitted and the vehicles to which each colour can be fitted.

 

 

(k)blue light from a warning beacon or rear special warning lamp fitted to an emergency vehicle, or from any device fitted to a vehicle used for police purposes;

 

(l)amber light from a warning beacon fitted to–

 

(i)a road clearance vehicle;

 

(ii)a vehicle constructed or adapted for the purpose of collecting refuse;

 

(iii)a breakdown vehicle;

 

(iv)a vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph or any trailer drawn by such a vehicle;

 

(v)a vehicle having an overall width (including any load) exceeding 2.9 m;

 

(vi)a vehicle used for the purposes of testing, maintaining, improving, cleansing or watering roads or for any purpose incidental to any such use;

 

(vii)a vehicle used for the purpose of inspecting, cleansing, maintaining, adjusting, renewing or installing any apparatus which is in, on, under or over a road, or for any purpose incidental to any such use;

 

(viii)a vehicle used for or in connection with any purpose for which it is authorised to be used on roads by an order under section 44 of the Act;

 

(ix)a vehicle used for escort purposes when travelling at a speed not exceeding 25 mph;

 

(x)a vehicle used by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise for the purpose of testing fuels;

 

(xi)a vehicle used for the purpose of surveying;

 

(xii)a vehicle used for the removal or immobilisation of vehicles in exercise of a statutory power or duty;

 

(m)green light from a warning beacon fitted to a vehicle used by a medical practitioner registered by the General Medical Council (whether with full, provisional or limited registration);

 

(n)yellow light from a warning beacon fitted to a vehicle for use at airports;

 

It does not appear that there is a circumstance when a Privately owned Military vehicle, not being an AILV (Antar and the like) , that is of normal width and capable of travelling at more than 25 MPH should be using an Amber Beacon. (I can't actually see any legislation that allows an "in Service" Military vehicle to run with an Amber Beacon either!)

 

I feel sure that Escort vehicle will be interpreted as Vehicle escorting Wide Agricultural vehicle, AILV, or any of the other wide or slow STGO categories, but I too fail to find an interpretation for "escort Vehicle".

Edited by antarmike

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Daz, Mike, the units are strips that you hard wire in. I'm now wondering if they can be fitted just under the front rim of the mudgaurd and wired to the sidelights. I won't get a chance to play about till Saturday afternoon. I'll ask my guy where he gets them from. Rambo, some years ago I was part of a series of experiments on reflictive kit for horses. We found the most effective were reflective bands attached around the lower offside legs of the horse. As you say not because they were the biggest, but because they MOVED! Incedentally it was also found the colour of Hi Vis gear mattered, against green backgrounds yellow had a hbit of blending in, orange was the best, but on dark bagrounds yellow stood out. Hence the recomendation for mixed colours. Red reflective tape was also far more effective than silver.

 

It maybe possible to adapt them. and the vehicle, to use plug in connectors so they can be removed if/when required.

Probably only know that when aqcuired. Sounds like they are a bit like the @Knight Rider" lights people used to fit in the 1980's.

 

Thanks to Tony and those that have pointed out that orange hi-viz is better, not something I had thought about.

 

As others have mentioned you can only do a certain amount to make yourself more visible and always to drive defensively. Something you learn to do when you have/had a motorbike. I try to remain fully alert and assume that somebody is about to do something stupid.

There are always the idiots out there who pay no attention to anybody or anything, and will cut you up, tailgate etc and all you can do about them is get out of their way as quickly and safely as possible. Even then when you slow down and wave them by they get annoyed because they think it is some sort of rude gesture and that you are slowing down just to annoy them.

 

Mike

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Think I've cracked the Front Position Light problem http://www.maplin.co.uk/24-led-magnetic-lamp-with-hook-225924

 

Cheap, self contained, multi purpose and bright. 3xAAA batteries. Magnetic so will stick to bimper or wing.and has a hook so a red CD marker pen or paint, and stick on the back. or hang from a tilt bar.

 

I Have one of those not sure if it exactly the same though as did not come from Maplins.

Current purpose "interior light Rover Series 3" and for holding route print out to battery cover.

They are very bright, magnet is a bit small. but will test next time I am out to see if it can withstand the potholes in the roads (bit of string to hook should ensure it stays hanging if it shakes loose. Should stick to front bumber or rear bumperettes on the Landy.

The hook folds out and swivels so you should be able to hang from tilt frame or similar.

 

Some cragt shops sell red transparent film which could be stuck on for rear use.

You could also use down the side of a vehicle if required.

 

Mike

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Don't forget that side lights should be no more than 5 watts for a filiment bulb. LED lights are much brighter and less wattage. If they are really bright it may be like driving with front and rear fog lights on all the time and we have all been folowing them at some point. If the LED lights are as bright as my head light i bought from home bargins you will be blinding people. I'm pretty sure you can't just stick randome brightness lights all over your car there might be some kind of rules

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Don't forget that side lights should be no more than 5 watts for a filiment bulb. LED lights are much brighter and less wattage. If they are really bright it may be like driving with front and rear fog lights on all the time and we have all been following them at some point. If the LED lights are as bright as my head light i bought from home bargains you will be blinding people....

Actually I think that is incorrect. There is no wattage (or even intensity) requirement for sidelights. See Road vehicles Lighthing regs 1989 as ammended

 

For front position lamps see Schedule 2 part 1 8. (&9)

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/schedule/2/made

 

For rear position lamps see Schedule 10 Part 1. 8. (&9)

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/schedule/10/made

Edited by antarmike

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From Antarmike :-

 

""It does not appear that there is a circumstance when a Privately owned Military vehicle, not being an AILV (Antar and the like) , that is of normal width and capable of travelling at more than 25 MPH should be using an Amber Beacon."

 

This goes back to my long held view that there aren't any circumstances where Privately owned Ex-Military vehicles are catered for - wheeled armour classed as Heavy locomotives for instance, DROPS obviously designed for use on public roads, being overwidth, etc.

 

(I can't actually see any legislation that allows an "in Service" Military vehicle to run with an Amber Beacon either!) ""

 

That's interesting. I wonder what legislation the Military THOUGHT they were having to comply with, when they started throwing Amber beacons about, 'Willy nilly'!

 

A veritable 'Can of worms' !

 

'Chas.'

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That is correct - I am certain FV101 Scorpions etc. have been using amber beacons around Catterick public highway training runs & down towards Bedale and similar twisting country roads to the ranges for donkeys years.

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I Have one of those not sure if it exactly the same though as did not come from Maplins.

Current purpose "interior light Rover Series 3" and for holding route print out to battery cover.

They are very bright, magnet is a bit small. but will test next time I am out to see if it can withstand the potholes in the roads (bit of string to hook should ensure it stays hanging if it shakes loose. Should stick to front bumber or rear bumperettes on the Landy.

The hook folds out and swivels so you should be able to hang from tilt frame or similar.

 

Some cragt shops sell red transparent film which could be stuck on for rear use.

You could also use down the side of a vehicle if required.

 

Mike

Yes Mike, magniet is a bit weak,the cunning plan is to take the ring magnets out of a couple of old speackers and try super gluing the light to them. The best place at the moment seems to be stick them to the edges of the front bumper.

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For in service vehicles and amber lights;

GUIDE TO THE COMMON TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MILITARY

 

LOGISTIC VEHICLES AND TOWED EQUIPMENT

Facilities shall be provided at the rear of vehicles to connect a detachable amber

 

flashing convoy light.

This is an extract from Def-Stan 23-6

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i cant copy and paste for some reason but from that blue light website , you can use amber lights to warm others you are there . matt green vehicles , small military lights , i know that when i take my pig out it will have an amber beacon on it .

jamie

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i cant copy and paste for some reason but from that blue light website , you can use amber lights to warm others you are there . matt green vehicles , small military lights , i know that when i take my pig out it will have an amber beacon on it .

jamie

i have a amber beacon on my pig & as it has a sign on the drivers door saying that it should not be driven more than 25mph. which means this is legal ;) . .& as my lights have cages on them, im allways followed by another vehicle . but i must say the trailer board .will be going on the back of the pig . as even im suprised on how many people dont see a great big green thing coming towards them :shocked:

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When I was living in Lincolnshire - where many drivers drive flat out and there's not a motorway to be found - I bolted a trailer-type reflector on the tailgate of my 80in Land Rover. It made a difference as many drivers aren't used to looking for small reflectors and small Lucas lights...

 

Here's a pic - not in Lincolnshire!

Reflector-lr.jpg

Edited by Marmite!!

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Keep the following in mind...

Especially in the dark.

 

Its not just a question of visibility but speed difference.

Even if they see you its hard to see there is a big difference in speed.

People just don't expect the vehicle in front to drive slowly.

 

In the dark they are on you before they even realise.

 

I recommend at least a rear viewing mirror on the inside windscreen. Your perifiral vision will notice vehicles from the rear earlier than with side mirrors.

You may be able to react in time for the oncoming crash from the rear.

 

Offcourse the canvas top on a Jeep, Dodge and many more obstruct a lot of vision to the rear.

Take it down if possible.

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I never fail to be amazed by the ammount of bad driving that I see on a daily basis on our roads and as long as that situation prevails we have little chance of avoiding these terrible accidents. Larger / older vehicles should be fitted with amber flashing light, that most certainly makes them highly visible to other motorists. When driving along an unlit area of dual carriageway I find that (depending on prevailing weather conditions) I can drive at maybe 55/60 mph and be able to react to any situation within my headlights, and my eyesight was perfect, however I find people overtaking me at anything up to 90 mph, I know that they cannot stop and they certainly cannot see any more than I can, that in my opinion is russian roulette with theirs and other peoples lives. My wife and myself decided on a particularly nice and sunny Sunday to go for a drive into Wales. The roads were very winding, as we approached a right hand bend a car travelling towards us came around the bend at such a speed that he lost control and careered onto our side of the carriageway for some considerable distance before regaining control, had we been a little nearer to that bend, we might have become just another statistic......... speed is the real problem here, not the lack of it. Too many people think that the road is a race track.

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