Heavyweights of freight

SAFETY FIRST: Trucks move an extraordinary amount of cargo around Australia, so knowing how to drive alongside them safely is paramount.
SAFETY FIRST: Trucks move an extraordinary amount of cargo around Australia, so knowing how to drive alongside them safely is paramount.

The transport and logistics industry is a key driver of the Australian economy and instrumental in this are trucks, which move an extraordinary amount of cargo around the country.

The industry relies on modern and incredibly expensive infrastructure, a large, skilled workforce and a diverse range of industries and consumers who need to move something from point A to point B.

Therefore, anytime you are driving on the open road, chances are you are going to have to share the road with a heavy vehicle.

If drivers don't show a high level of care, heavy vehicles - whether a semi-trailer, B-double, road train or larger cab-chassis commercial vehicles - can present a range of safety issues for all road users.

This is because of their size, mass and inability to stop or change direction as quickly as smaller vehicles in the event of an emergency.

However, there are a few tips passenger vehicle drivers should follow to help them keep safe.

It's important to allow plenty of time to overtake long vehicles, especially in wet weather or changed road conditions.

Avoid blind spots

Heavy vehicles have four blind spots motorists should avoid - beside the truck's left door; by the truck's right door; directly behind the truck; and immediately in front of the truck.

When travelling behind a heavy vehicle, if you cannot see the mirror of the truck, then the driver cannot see you. Make sure you are clear of a heavy vehicle driver's blind spot before overtaking.

Turning

Be aware of turning heavy vehicles. If a heavy vehicle has a "Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle" sign, it is allowed to take up more than one lane when turning. Be prepared to allow extra room for it to turn, using an additional lane.

Take care overtaking

It's important to allow plenty of time to overtake long vehicles, especially in wet weather or changed road conditions.

Make sure there is no oncoming traffic, indicate clearly, accelerate and overtake quickly, without exceeding the speed limit.

A car travelling in a 110km/h speed limit zone, will take about one kilometre to safely overtake a 23-metre B-double truck that is travelling at 100km/h on a road with an overtaking lane.

On a two-way road with a 110km/h speed limit, two kilometres of clear road ahead is needed to safely overtake the same truck.

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