What to do when you come across a bridge

This article explores the causes of bridging and what to do when you hit a bridge!

There are five bridge strikes every day because truck drivers do not plan the route properly to accommodate the size of their vehicle. A single incident can cost Network Rail around £13,500 to fix. Here we detail the various causes of bridge strikes, what you should do if it happens to you, and Network Rail's protocols.

Causes of bridge strikes


A truck can initially pass under a bridge, but the height decreases along the way, causing the vehicle and bridge to touch. This could result in a vehicle becoming trapped under the bridge as well as causing scraping damage.

trailer is on strike

Some trucks can tow trailers that are a different height than the vehicle, or change trailers in the course of a day. If the driver does not know the difference in altitude and does not plan a suitable route, chaos ensues.

Carrying equipment at different heights

Towing a trailer with equipment of different heights - for example construction equipment - can lead to an accident if you do not know where the highest point of the vehicle is.

Carry on regardless

Continuing over a low bridge after impact is more trouble than it's worth, as evidenced in the stuck truck video below.

What to do when you come across a bridge

If your vehicle drives onto a bridge, the incident must be reported to Network Rail immediately by calling the number on the data plate affixed to the bridge. If a bridge does not have a nameplate, the strike should be reported to the police.

If possible, the following information should be provided:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Bridge identification or location
  • Whether the bridge leads over the road or the railway
  • All known hazards or when persons are trapped
  • Whether the vehicle is wedged under a bridge

What happens after hitting a bridge?

Once an incident has been reported to Network Rail or the Police, train movements can be halted while the bridge is inspected and any necessary action taken to maintain safety:

  • If the integrity of the bridge is not compromised, train movements may return to normal
  • If a vehicle is wedged under the bridge or is on fire, train movement will stop until the vehicle is removed
  • If damage to the bridge has compromised its integrity, train movements will be halted until the bridge is repaired and the road closed

Once train runs have been stopped, they can only be resumed if:

  • a Bridge Strike Nominee (BSN) authorizes train movements;
  • the condition of the bridge does not affect the traction and the safety of road vehicles and pedestrians passing under the bridge can be guaranteed;
  • The damage to the bridge was confirmed to have been repaired.

After the incident, the motorway or road authority will consider improvements to the traffic signs on the approaches to and around the bridge and to the visibility of existing signs by removing obstacles such as B. vegetation must be made.

Trucks can't hover! The Truckmate Bridge-Saver is an essential companion for drivers of large vehicles, providing accurate information about upcoming bridges and tunnels to prevent bridge collapses. Buy the Truckmate Bridge-Saver here and here the Truckmate range .