How to be safe around badly maintained trucks on the road
Johannesburg - According to the managing director of MasterDrive SA, Eugene Herbert, there are numerous things you can do to reduce the risk you face when sharing the road with trucks in need of maintenance.
“The key, is to be aware. Look at the trucks around you and the condition in which they appear to be. Every time you spot a truck that appears to be a bit derelict, drive with even more caution than you normally would," he says.
As many motorists plan to head to holiday destinations in the coming weeks, it is important for drivers to do what they can to not endanger themselves or the truck drivers when sharing the roads with them.
“Do not linger around trucks. If moving away from them requires you to overtake, ensure you have plenty of space and time to do this. Never take a risk when overtaking a truck that appears to be neglected. Avoid overtaking the truck on a downhill as this is where their brakes are most likely to fail. Follow these tips, as well as your instincts, to reduce your risk on the road. Rather arrive 30 minutes late than not at all,” says Herbert.
It is important for car drivers to also be aware that the challenges truck drivers face are very different to theirs. “The weight and size of a truck as well as the different loads means they need more time to get going, stop or slow down. Share the road safely and courteously with truck drivers these holidays,” he adds.
To ensure you are safe on the road, Herbert suggests:
- Leaving large spaces between your car and the truck. This will help you avoid one of their many and much larger blind spots. The blind spots are in front or close to their bumper, close behind the truck as well as in certain spots beside the truck. If you can see the driver in the side mirror, they can see you.
- Never pull directly in front of a truck or in a small gap between a truck and another vehicle. A medium-sized truck can take 40% longer to stop than a car.
- During rain, leave extra space around the truck as their off-spray is larger. They will also take longer to stop. When travelling in front of a truck, signal early or avoid making sudden turns as they need longer to stop.
"Follow these tips so that everyone can arrive at their destination safely. It will also reduce some of the pressure that truck drivers (and you) face on the roads during this very busy time of year.