4 Ways Drivers Can Ensure They Are Safe Around Trucks on the Road

All learner drivers can relate to a sense of trepidation when driving next to a commercial truck. Australia’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development reported that by the end of September 2017, 197 heavy truck crashes had led to 216 fatalities. So, when you pull up next to a truck, or vice versa, while out on the road, it’s always best to exercise caution along with these four road safety cues.


Overtake with Caution

A crucial component to being a safe driver is being a defensive-minded one. It is a proactive mindset that makes a driver safe. It is imperative to anticipate the movement of other motorists and trucks so you can stay on top of any situation and avoid accidents. When overtaking trucks, it’s essential to make sure that you maintain a defensive mindset all the while making sure that there is sufficient space ahead. What every learner driver should avoid doing is attempting to overtake a truck as it turns. The National Road Safety Partnership Program Australia stresses that the additional length of heavy vehicles legally allows them to use two lanes to execute a turn. A learner driver should be aware of this in order to anticipate if a truck may move into their lane.

Avoid Driving Alongside

Continuously driving alongside a truck can be dangerous, especially on motorways. If anything happens and a truck needs to move it will often have nowhere to go except into the next lane. Many commercial drivers refer to this area as the “kill zone” as a car will be crushed if the truck suddenly veers into the lane. Learner drivers should also keep a healthy space behind and in front of trucks and learn about blind spots.

Be Aware of the Blind Spots

The Government of South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure point out that heavy trucks have three blind spots learner drivers must know about which are the left door of the truck, the back of the truck, and the space immediately in front of the truck. Whether it’s merging into the truck’s lane in either lethargic- or fast-paced traffic, take extra care when you are within these areas.

Government Initiatives

The role of the government is crucial when it comes to preserving every citizen’s road safety. That’s why it’s very important to make drivers aware of a Federal Government program to keep learner-drivers safe. Keys2drive organised by the Australian Automobile Association administers thousands of free driving lessons to the country’s L-platers and their supervisors every year. Moreover, the program’s objective is to make P-platters accident free within the first six months of them driving alone. It is highly recommended to enroll in this programme.

One reason why it is important that learners develop good instincts around commercial vehicles is that there is a problem in Australia with truck drivers overdriving. A Sydney Morning Herald report on truck safety in Australia detailed how “trucks kill a disproportionate number of people.” The report found that drivers were often pressured by their operators to drive past the legal time limits. Despite this being a serious problem the Australian government has yet to take steps to make this far more difficult for drivers and companies to do. Even worse, the technology already exists to properly tackle this problem.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has finalised legislation that requires commercial truck vehicles to have Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). Fleetmatics reports that ELDs work through digitally recording the driver’s Hours of Service (HoS). This information can be accessed by drivers, operators, and road authorities, and ensures that the correct procedures are being followed across the board. The device will also alert drivers and operators if they are close to exceeding their HoS.

Until a regulation like this replaces the paper logs currently used in Australia by commercial vehicles, learner drivers should follow our directives to stay safe around commercial vehicles.

 

Exclusively written for Easyasdta.com.au
by JBRoadReports

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