Truckies spend a lot of time on the road, and unfortunately, sometimes they witness some terrible behaviour from other drivers that can cause crashes. At Braun Transport, we’ve assembled a list of seven dangerous driving situations, and how you should handle them.
Something that happens frequently is a car in the merging lane will speed to try to cut in front of a truck in the left lane. Sometimes trucks can’t move over, as there is already traffic in the other lanes. There are many videos of cars cutting in front of trucks only to be hit by the truck, as it does not have enough time to slow down.
I myself have seen a hatchback getting pushed along sideways down the road by a truck, because it merged in too closely. Only merge in front of a truck if you have plenty of room (around 3-4 car lengths, leaving more room the faster you’re travelling). Otherwise, take the safe option and pull in behind.
When you pull out from a side street into a main road, be wary of approaching trucks. You may be able to cut it finer with regular cars (although this isn’t a good idea), but if you don’t leave enough time for the truck to brake, you could have a disaster on your hands. It’s better to wait for a proper gap in traffic before pulling out.
When overtaking, you should always do it on the right. Drivers aren’t expecting overtaking on the left and it can lead to crashes when a truck needs to move into the left lane. Truck drivers are always on the look out for all other traffic, but it’s best to follow the road rules and remember that trucks don’t have the best visibility of what’s behind them.
Trucks need extra room at intersections when turning. You will see the signs on the backs of trucks that say “do not overtake turning vehicle”, and this is for a reason.
A truck turning left needs to pull to the right before the turn to allow for its long trailer. This is so it doesn’t clip the curb. If you see a truck in front of you approaching an intersection with its indicator on, stay behind it so it has enough room to properly make the turn.
Another example is overtaking on double white lines. Those lines are there for a reason – they indicate that there’s not enough time to overtake, as there is no visibility for what’s coming the other way.
Drivers who do this take their and other drivers’ lives into their hands. It is one of the worst mistakes you can make behind the wheel. Always wait until there are dotted lines on your side of the road and there is plenty of time to make your move, and visibility far down the road.
Another sign you will see on the backs of trucks is “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”. Take heed. If you tailgate right behind a truck, they can’t see you and can’t allow for you.
You might hit the back of the truck if it has to stop suddenly, and if you are behind the truck for a time and then go to overtake, you will be suddenly appearing beside the truck.
The truck may have already begun moving into another lane or turning, and might not have time to allow for you, or may not notice you.
Never run a red light. If there’s an oncoming truck, it probably won’t have time to stop (not to mention all the other traffic). Surprisingly, this happens a lot, despite it being so dangerous. Always pay attention to lights and road signs to stay safe.
When travelling in front of a truck, make sure there’s a lot of room between you. If you brake suddenly, the truck may not have enough time to stop. Trucks have a longer braking distance because of their weight. You have to remember it is harder to manoeuvre a truck, so drive in their presence accordingly.
U-turns are particularly dangerous manoeuvres because one has to be aware of traffic travelling in both directions, and usually the move is executed from a standstill or a slow speed.
When making a u-turn, be sure that it is a legal one. In Queensland, it is illegal to u-turn at a set of lights unless it is signed otherwise. The braking issue is the main one here.
If you are parked on the side of a road, indicating, other drivers will assume you just want to pull out, not make a u-turn. To be safe, make sure you have extra time to perform your manoeuvre.
We all need trucks to be on the road, so when driving around trucks, give them the room they need so everyone can be safe. Follow the road rules and be a courteous and respectful driver, and everyone wins.
Brought to you by Braun Transport.