Just before many people embark on their trips down to the coast, two crashes have already occurred on Van Reenen’s Pass, both involving trucks. It is important for car drivers to be aware that the challenges truck drivers face are very different compared to truck drivers. If you will be driving long-distance these holidays, it is important to be aware of this.
The weight and size of a truck as well as the different loads which they carry means they need more time to get going, to stop or slow down and various other factors. Below are some tips from MasterDrive on how to share the road safely and courteously with truck drivers these holidays:
Leave large spaces between your car and the truck. This will help you avoid one of their many and much larger blind spots. Their blind spots are in front or close to their bumper, close behind the truck as well as in certain spots beside the truck.
A rule of thumb is 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.
When overtaking, do not just check if there is a gap but check the length of the truck before you go. Before you do overtake, also make sure you give yourself more than enough time so if the truck is longer than expected you have extra time.
Be extra cautious with trucks carrying abnormal loads.
If there is a double turning lane and a truck in the lane on the left, do not drive next to it. Once they make the turn, this space closes up. The driver left that space there for a reason.
During rain, leave extra space around the truck as their off spray is going to be larger. They will also take even longer to stop.
When travelling in front of a truck, signal early or avoid making sudden turns as they need longer to stop.
Never stop in the emergency lanes for trucks. These lanes are there for trucks whose brakes have failed going downhill and you endanger everyone by doing this.
Do not pressurise a truck to drive in a yellow lane so you can pass. They can see more than what you can in that position and will not move over if it is dangerous or illegal to do so.
Be aware that driving on hilly roads is especially challenging for truck drivers. Do not pass a truck on an incline then cut in front of them on the decline.
Follow these tips so that everyone can arrive at their destination safely. It will also reduce some of the pressure that truck drivers face on the roads during this very busy time of year.