Road Safety Refresher

Category: CTAM News Safety Date: 06 Jun 2023

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With the winter school holidays steadily approaching, the time for a road safety refresher is now!

Whether it’s brushing up on your truckie knowledge or the importance of rest areas- it’s essential to get the run down before embarking on any road holiday when the roads are likelier to be busier and a lot more hectic.

This is especially challenging when towing a big ol’ caravan or motorhome behind you, so read up on our tips and tricks to keep you and the family safe these school holidays.

Stay Out Of The Heavy Vehicle Blind Spots

Staying out of a truck’s blind spot is crucial for road safety
. Large trucks, due to their size and design, have significant blind spots or “no-zones” surrounding them.

These blind spots exist on the sides, front, and rear of the truck, limiting the driver’s visibility.

When a vehicle enters these blind spots, the truck driver may not be able to see them, leading to potential accidents or collisions during lane changes, turns, or sudden stops.

By staying out of these blind spots, drivers ensure that they are visible to the truck driver, reducing the risk of accidents and allowing for better maneuverability and reaction time.

Maintaining a safe distance and being aware of a truck’s blind spots is essential for the safety of all road users.

The blind spots are located:

  • immediately in front of the truck
  • beside the truck driver’s door
  • on the passenger side which runs the length of the truck and extends out three lanes
  • directly behind the truck.

Remember: if you cannot see the truck driver’s mirror, the truck driver cannot see you.

Travel At a Safe Following Distance

It is crucial to maintain a safe distance from heavy vehicles/trucks while driving, as it allows you to have a clear view of the road ahead and ensures road safety, including the ability to spot debris and other cars.

It’s important to bear in mind that cars and heavy vehicles/trucks have different braking requirements, so allowing sufficient time to stop safely is necessary.

The table below presents a comparison of stopping distances for cars and trucks travelling at the same speeds:

Vehicle SpeedStopping distance (Metres)

The Importance of Rest Areas

Caravanners and RV users have significantly more options when it comes to managing fatigue and choosing places to rest compared to truck drivers.

However, it has become a concern that heavy vehicle drivers, especially those on long journeys, often arrive at rest stops only to find Recreational Vehicle (RV) users occupying spaces specifically designated for trucks.

This situation could have been avoided if RV users had planned ahead and sought out caravan parks or other designated areas provided by councils and towns.

While it is understood that caravanners/RV users may occasionally need to utilize rest stops, it is important to emphasize that they should do so in a manner that supports safety and respects the intended use of these facilities.

This means following the posted signs and refraining from occupying areas designated for heavy vehicle drivers, which may force them to perform unnecessary maneuvers or reverse their vehicles.

Another concern is the prolonged occupation of RVs in rest stops, exceeding the intended duration of use.

It is crucial to remind Australians that co-existing harmoniously supports safety, our economy, and our truck drivers.

By keeping this message “front of mind,” we can encourage individuals to make considerate choices that prioritize the needs and well-being of all road users.

Tips for Caravanners

One of the most challenging situations on the road occurs when a truck approaches a van on a single-lane highway.

Certain speed limitations for towing caravans may prompt a truck driver to initiate an overtaking maneuver.

While it may seem courteous to slow down and let the truck pass, this can actually disrupt its momentum and speed.

To address this situation, it is recommended to maintain your speed and position until the heavy vehicle begins to overtake.

If you wish to assist, gently lift your foot off the accelerator. Once the truck safely returns to the right side of the road, resume your travelling speed.

Ensure you know your safe maximum towing speed and avoid exceeding it when being overtaken by a truck.

Consult professionals such as your vehicle manufacturer or towing setup specialist for advice on top towing speeds. It is important to maintain your speed and avoid slowing down while the truck is attempting to overtake.

Consider using a UHF radio to communicate with the truck driver if needed.

For more information, click here.

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