17 Sep

The ATA’s Safety Truck tour: promoting driver safety for all

Safety on the road is integral for all drivers, whether they’re behind the wheel of a family car of a large freight truck.

Unfortunately, there is often a stigma associated with truck drivers, which causes a lot of misinformation to float around.

To help clear up some myths and educate all drivers on how to practice greater safety on the road, the Australian Trucking Association runs touring Safety Truck demonstrations across various locations throughout the country. The primary focus of the ATA Safety Truck is to ensure that we can all stay safe on the road, while also providing greater detail as to how truck drivers have unique safety concerns to account for compared to the average driver.

As part of the ATA Safety Truck tour, truckies from across the industry have provided some of their best safety tips for other drivers to keep in mind, including:

  • Do not cut in front of a truck: The required braking distance for a truck is far greater than an average vehicle. If you want to overtake, make sure you have ample room to do so, and only merge back in front of the truck once you can see both of its headlights in your rear-view mirror. Once in front, maintain the required speed. Under no circumstances should you cut in front and then abruptly slow down.
  • Trucks are speed-limited: Remember that trucks have speed limiters on them that typically restrict to going no faster than 100 km/hr. They may go slightly over these speeds when travelling downhill, but beyond that they can never exceed 100 km/hr. If you’re in an area where the permitted speed is greater than 100 km/hr, remember to keep this in mind. After all, the speed limiter exists to promote greater safety for truckies and you.
  • Blind spots: Truck drivers have to contend with some fairly large blind spots. Due to truck cabs being elevated higher, it can be much harder for them to see any car that’s aligned with the passenger door on the left of the truck. While the right-hand side is more visible, blind spots are still more pronounced than in a usual car. Also avoid driving closely behind the truck.
  • Truck overtaking you: In the event that a truck driver wants to overtake your car, maintain your speed – never speed up. If possible, it is helpful to even reduce your speed slightly.
  • High-beams: Remember to turn off your high-beams at night when approaching crests/corners. Most mirrors on trucks are not anti-glare, which means high-beams can flood a truck driver’s vision when reflected.
  • Air turbulence: As trucks are far larger vehicles, they create what is known as “air turbulence” at high speeds. So when passing a truck from the opposite direction, try to avoid being too close as the air turbulence may cause your car to be pushed around a little.
  • Seatbelts: Never forget your seatbelt. Statistics show that drivers (and passengers) who fail to be properly secured with a seatbelt are 10 times more likely to die in a crash.

If you’re interested in checking out the ATA Safety Truck as it makes tracks around Australia, check out this page for more information.

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