Pilot driver Christine Thiel who is currently working on delivering wind farm hardware from Port Adelaide in South Australia to Broken Hill in outback NSW, is concerned about the risks that drivers are taking around oversize loads.
Truck drivers and other motorists are either ignoring oversize loads or challenging the wide loads.
According to Christine truck drivers in particular are taking risks around oversize loads, not wanting to make way for them.
“It’s very concerning, some of these guys take risks. Some are driving road trains and B-doubles and don’t want to damage their truck of freight, but some are totally oblivious to what the reality is,” she said.
Having driven pilot vehicles for 7 years now, Christine wants to raise awareness about how to navigate oversize loads.
“There’s a push to get young people in high school learn about road safety, which includes negotiating, but I don’t know what the solution is. You’ve got young truck drivers out there with a lot of freight that don’t seem to be aware of the danger they’re in when they’re in a wide load,” she said.
In the article on BigRigs.com.au a SAPOL Traffic Support Branch spokesperson said drivers should immediately safely reduce their speed when a pilot vehicle is approaching. He went on to explain,
“If there is one or more police escort vehicles escorting the load, the over-dimensional load is likely to be larger and will be in excess of one or more of the following dimensions – wider than 5.5m and longer than 30m,” he said.
“Some loads are up to eight metres wide and up to 75m long.
“In these circumstances, motorists should obey the police escorts direction and pull off the road in a controlled manner and prepare to stop off the carriageway.
“If you are directed to keep moving down the dirt verge, do so slowly as stones from faster moving vehicles cause significant windscreen damage to vehicles involved in the escort.”
The spokesperson also went on to describe the responsibilities of the pilot drivers on the road, including driving with headlights on low beam when involved in an escort and the vehicles should have 1 or 2 rotating yellow lights that is visible from all directions. Pilot vehicles should also display a warning sign saying “OVERSIZE LOAD AHEAD”.
The pilot vehicle should serve as a warning to oncoming traffic and motorists to slow down, the spokesman said.
The SAPOL Traffic Support Branch spokesman also said in relation to infringements given out to road users, the size and complexities of the escort didn’t allow for stopping of loads on the carriageways. He also stated that the risk to other road users was too high to try to chase down people to issue an infringement.
“Leaving the load[s] unattended without traffic control is not an option,” he said.
“Most road users are compliant, but there are a number of circumstances where motorists do not stop or slow down and just take it for granted that they will get past because they did last time.”