A major concern for truck drivers is the behaviour of other road-users and in particular light motor vehicle drivers around trucks. Sadly many people just don’t know how to drive safely around trucks.
In light of this, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) is raising public awareness on the issue.
The move by RACQ comes as the state experienced a spike in truck crash fatalities.
RACQ head of public policy Dr Rebecca Michael said it was crucial that motorists understand how differently heavy vehicles operated on the road, particularly given the number of fatalities involving trucks on the state’s roads.
“There’ve been 14 fatalities involving trucks on Queensland roads, as of 15 April – a 75 percent increase on same period last year,” Dr Michael says.
“While there’ve been significant improvements in heavy vehicle safety performance in recent years, the size of a truck means when they’re involved in a crash, it’s going to have a catastrophic impact.
“Trucks, simply due to their size and mass, need far more distance to stop, so give them space on the roads.
“Regardless of who’s at fault, a lighter vehicle will most likely come off second best with a heavy vehicle – so it’s important drivers take extra care when sharing the roads.”
The RACQ noted that in an interview with The Australian, the manager of the National Road Safety Partnership Program for the Australian Road Research Board, Jerome Carslake highlighted the fact that an increase in heavy-vehicle movements in inner cities from major projects demanded an immediate collaborative effort to avoid heavy-vehicle collisions.
Mr Carslake went on to explain that despite technology and other advancements put into heavy vehicles, as well as regulations for trucks, if a person driving a car suddenly cuts off a truck and the big truck isn’t able to stop in time because of it’s sheer size, the truck is not at fault, light motor vehicle drivers need to be educated.
The RACQ went on to provide some useful tips for anyone sharing the road with heavy vehicles,
don’t tailgate – give heavy vehicles the space they need
don’t cut in front of a truck
if you can’t see the mirrors of a heavy vehicle, its driver probably won’t be able to see you
never overtake a turning truck, and don’t overtake a heavy vehicle on a curve or crest of a road
have patience with truck drivers who may take longer to get moving after stopping at traffic lights or intersections – they are heavy vehicles and often the driver needs to move through 10 or more gears
relax and remember the bigger picture behind the wheel – your life, and the lives of others, are more important than getting to your destination a few minutes quicker.