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HGVs Can Now Be Fitted With Aerodynamic Features

Retractable aerodynamic features are now allowed to be fitted to haulage equipment as a result of a radical change in legislation aimed at reducing vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

The new rules, published in official government guidance, allow for the use of elongated aerodynamic HGV cabs as well as approved rear devices such as flaps or fins that can reduce the trailer’s drag without taking up additional load space.

This new legislation amends the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and brings UK lorries in line with similar EU legislation enacted in 2012 which allows for the safe use of aerodynamic devices.

Aerodynamics are the wings, folds, flaps and bodywork shaping seen on vehicles that are used to shape the air around a vehicle, allowing it to pass through with less air resistance and drag, which means that an engine needs to work harder to maintain the same speed.

Whilst many lorry trailers already use limited levels of aerodynamic design such as shaped trailers and cab fairings, the new legislation allows for far more options whilst away from urban areas, with retractable and foldable aerodynamics devices that can be fitted to the rear of the trailer.

Foldable aero devices can be, whilst in operation, wider than the total maximum width of the vehicle, although they should be closed in urban and rural areas where there is a greater chance of being closer to pedestrians.

They also should not be used whilst reversing, parking, when parked and in the process of loading or unloading goods from the side, and when the lorry is travelling on ferries or via rail and should remain folded.

As well as this, the load length still needs to be within legal limits and the lorry needs to be able to meet the required level of turning circle manoeuvrability, and red lights and reflectors must be fitted to the devices whilst outstretched to warn other road users of a wide load.

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