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Last week the NRMA, in conjunction with the NSW Transport Workers Union, published a first-of-its-kind report
detailing the results of a survey of the biggest road safety concerns of truck and heavy vehicle drivers. Their findings
showed that almost 40% of drivers listed the dangerous practice of motorists pulling out in front of them suddenly as
their biggest concern, followed by vehicles increasing their speed just as overtaking opportunities arise (listed by 29% of
These alarming statistics highlight the fact that many drivers are unaware of the risks they take when not taking the
proper precautions when sharing the road with trucks. Drivers should always keep in mind the following safety tips:
       •   Trucks are bigger and heavier than cars and as such, they require a longer distance to safely stop. For
           example, a car travelling at 80km/h would require a distance of 111 metres to come to a complete stop,
           while a truck travelling at the same speed would require 130 metres, a difference of 19 metres. This is why it
           is important not to cut in front of trucks, especially when they are slowing down to stop, because you may
           not leave them enough room.
       •   Always be aware of the fact that since they are very large, Trucks have bigger blind spots than cars. A truck’s
           blind spots are:
                                                Beside the truck’s left door
                                                Directly behind the truck for some distance
                                                Immediately in front of the truck
           Always remember that if you cannot see the truck driver in the truck’s mirror, they cannot see you either.
       •   When overtaking a truck, always be mindful of its braking distance and blind spots. Wait until you see the
           whole of the truck in your rear vision mirror before pulling in front of it. Remember that it takes about 25
           seconds to overtake a large truck on the open road. That’s a long time if you are on the wrong side of the
           road. This same logic applies when being overtaken by a truck as well. Ease back on your speed if you see a
           truck overtaking you to minimise the time it spends on the wrong side of the road.
       •   Trucks require a lot of room when they are turning, so always remember to keep a safe distance away from a
           turning truck. Large trucks often need to take turns very wide, and it is therefore very important to make
           sure you never attempt to overtake a turning truck, as they may not see you in their blind spots whilst they
           are turning.
       •   Be aware of the size of the truck you are sharing the road with. Oversize and Long trucks will need longer
           stopping distances and wider turning circles, as well as take longer to overtake. If you are unsure of how long
           or large a truck is, keep a safe distance at all times.
       •   Avoid side-by-side exposure and don't sit next to them. If you are passing a truck on a freeway make sure the
           vehicle in-front of you is well past the truck, so you don't get boxed in next to them. Also, try to avoid sitting
           next to them in tunnels as you have no escape route if they do go to change lanes.
       •   If you are being tailgated by a truck don't increase your speed. If you are in traffic increase the distance
           between you and the vehicle in-front as you now need to allow a hazard perception/reaction time for not
           only yourself but also for the truck. Trucks are also a distraction to you when they are sitting close, which is
           another good reason to increase your following distance.
       •   Knowing a large truck is close behind you is critical if you are approaching a light that has been green for
           some time. If it changes, it is important that you do not jump on the brakes to stop for the amber light, as the
           truck might not have time to stop.
       •   Some truck drivers are under time pressures, which compounded by the increased stopping distance means
           that they are more likely to run red lights. For this reason it is critical that you always scan intersections
           before you enter them - just because you have a green light doesn't mean that they have seen the red light.
For more information on sharing the road with trucks, click here, or for more survey results, click here.

Safe Driving,

The team at Innovation Group.