Trucks come in all shapes and sizes, and handle differently from cars. To safely travel on the road with trucks, drivers need to be aware of their visibility, stopping distances and safe methods for overtaking heavy vehicles.
A blind spot is where a driver loses sight of other vehicles. Know where a truck driver's blind spots are and take steps to avoid them. Truck driver's blind spots are:
- beside the truck's left door
- directly behind the truck and for quite a distance behind it
- immediately in front of the truck
- if you cannot see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, then he cannot see you
Move to a position well in front of or behind the truck, where the driver can see you.
Trucks, because they are bigger and heavier than cars, take longer to stop safely. Do not cut in front of a truck while it is slowing down to stop.
A truck travelling at 60 k/ph takes 10 metres longer to come to a complete stop than a car. At 100 k/ph, the truck takes almost 30 metres longer than a car to come to a complete stop.
Overtaking trucks and other large vehicles
Follow these suggestions to safely overtake a truck or other large vehicle:
- slow down until you can see the driver in the truck mirrors. This means the driver knows you are there
- keep your distance until it is safe to overtake
- avoid cutting in front of a truck too closely after passing it
- 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
- allow for the trucks increasing speed on the downhill run if you overtake at or near a crest
- ease back on your speed when a truck is overtaking you. This reduces the time the truck will be beside you
- always check the truck's indicators. If it is about to change lanes or turn, wait for another opportunity
- in wet weather conditions drivers should be mindful of the amount of spray likely to be thrown out from trucks and the resulting loss of visibility, when overtaking
Reviewed 20 November 2019