Sharing the Highway with Heavy Trucks

4 October 2012 - By Eugene Herbert - The RAC Group

Hi Folks…

With trucks (the drivers striking) being fresh in our mind it seemed appropriate to look at some of the challenges motorists face on the road when interacting with trucks. Some of the points raised below – while obvious to some truckers - may be of assistance in making our all round driving experience a lot safer.

Following behind a Truck


When following behind a truck, leave yourself 20 to 25 car lengths space behind – a good 8 to 10 seconds. This may seem like a long distance. But because large trucks obscure visibility far more than smaller vehicles, that much room is needed so you have enough time to react if road conditions suddenly change. A good rule of thumb to ensure you’ve left yourself enough room is to look for the truck’s side mirrors. If you can see them then you are in a good place.


Take these considerations into account:


• Debris in the road, such as timber / parcels   or even bricks, might have no impact on a large truck. If that debris was suddenly in front of you because the truck drove over it and you were following too closely, it could have a devastating impact.


• On congested roads traffic often slows down suddenly. If you are travelling too closely behind a truck, you cannot see the slowdown coming and may not be able to take evasive action soon enough.


• At highway speeds everything happens very fast. Collisions up ahead or right in front of a truck require fast reactions. Leaving enough space in front of you will allow for that response without endangering yourself.
 
Passing a Truck


When passing a truck and moving back into its lane, make sure you can see the truck’s headlights in your rear-view mirror before you cut back in. That allows the truck enough space to slow down or stop if something happens up ahead.


A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 55 tonnes and take the length of a soccer field to stop. Most passenger cars weigh around 2 tonnes and have a much shorter stopping distance. Just because you can stop in time doesn’t mean that the truck behind you can if you’ve cut too close in front of it. Even if the driver makes a monumental effort, the truck may not be able to stop if you haven’t left enough room.


You may wonder why many truck drivers leave space in front of them in heavy traffic. It’s so they have enough stopping distance. Don’t fill in (steal) that space and take up that safety buffer that the driver is trying to maintain.


Till next time safe driving and remember – give trucks space, plenty of it.


The Team at MASTERDRIVE
Remember Arrive Alive with MASTERDRIVE




http://advanceddriving.co.za

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