Over the next two decades, the number of trucks on Australian roads is expected to double. Statistics show that in a recent annual period there were 163 fatal crashes involving trucks, with 80% caused not by the truck but by the other vehicle’s driver. Not what you might have expected, and it shows the importance of driving safely when around the big rigs. Here are the key tips for safe driving when there are heavy vehicles on the road around you.
Give as much notice as you can when you are about to stop or turn
The heavier the traffic, the more important this becomes, and doubly so when there are trucks behind or beside you. They require more time for slowing down. The greater the mass of the vehicle and the higher its speed, the longer it needs.
Allow ample turning space
When a truck gives notice that it is going to make a turn, ensure you allow plenty of space and wait for the truck to complete its manoeuvre before you proceed.
Know the blind spots
All drivers need to be aware of a truck’s four blind spots. These are located immediately in front of the truck, beside the driver’s door, the full length of the passenger side extending out three lanes, and 10 metres directly behind. Be conscious of these at all times.
Keep to your own side of the road
Stay clear of the truck’s lane and never overtake if there is an oncoming truck, regardless of whether you believe you have the time, as trucks cannot move out of the way quickly if you’ve misjudged the distance.
Watch your night lights
Commercial trucks have larger mirrors than cars and bright headlights can affect these. If you’re driving behind a truck at night, dim your headlights to standard low-beam setting so as to avoid blinding the truck driver.
Be cautious when merging into a lane
Avoid merging in front of a truck. In the event of the traffic in that lane suddenly slowing, there may not be enough time for the truck driver to reduce speed quickly enough to avoid running into you.
Maintain a safe distance
This is essential whether following a truck or stopped behind it at lights. When stopped, you want to allow plenty of space in case the truck begins to roll backward. While driving behind it, always keep a distance so that you have the time to slow or stop should the truck reduce speed suddenly or suffer a tyre blowout.
It’s our hope, at Not My Fault, that you never have an accident driving around trucks or for any other reason. If you do and it is not your fault, then you are entitled under Australian law to an accident replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired. You can phone us on 1800699034 should you need further advice.