Sharing with heavy vehicles Lessons Note

Heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks are often considerably larger, longer, heavier and more powerful than standard vehicles and need to be treated with safety in mind. Crashes with them are more likely to cause serious injury or death.

When encountering heavy vehicles

  • Never cut in front of a hevay vehicle at traffic lights or in the traffic flow as they need a long distance to stop and may not be able to stop in time
  • Never tailgate a heavy vehicle - you may be unable to see or reacy to a potential hazard in time
  • Allow extra room for trucks to drive in and out of driveways, roads or loading docks
  • Be prepared to adapt your driving to stay safe by reducing speed etc. Due to their weight, heavy vehicles need more time to accelerate, especially when starting or going uphill
  • Never speed up if a heavy vehicle starts to pass you as they need very long distances to overtake due to their length and slow acceleration
  • Allow more room for heavy vehicles to turn as they sometimes take up more than once lane at corners or roundabouts. Assume that they will need more than their own lane to turn. They may cut a corner when turning at an intersection, so beware!
  • In bad weather conditions, be extra careful around trucks since e.g. water on the road can splatter your winshield and reduce your vision to almost zero
  • Reflective portable warning triangles could indicate that a heavy vehicle has broken down. Always slow down and be careful when you see warning triangles on the road.
In bad weather, you should be extra careful around large vehicles!

Blind spots

Trucks have larger blind spots than regular vehicles, and you should avoid driving in the bilind spot area for longer than necessary

A general rule is that if you aren’t able to see the truck’s external mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Get out of the blind spot by either overtaking, if safe, or by pulling back to where you can be seen.

A truck driver may not be able to see you or be able to stop if you try to pass them while they are turning, so wait until they have completed their turn before passing.

Overtaking heavy vehicles

Don't cut too close in front of heavy vehicles

Consider the length of the vehicle you are overtaking - heavy vehicles are long, and you need extra distance to pass. Overtake ONLY if safe.

Don’t pull in too close after overtaking as you may force the truck to brake or cause a collision.

Vehicles with a ‘Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle’ sign can legally use two lanes when turning and are allowed to cut corners. They will require extra space at intersections, corners, and roundabouts. Be careful as passenger vehicles are likely to be crushed if put in the path of a turning truck.

Remember that some trucks may need to use the right-hand lane to turn left

Oversize vehicles

'Oversize' means that the vehicle is wider/longer/higher than normal and that the load may even hang into other lanes

Oversized vehicles are often accompanied by escort vehicles with yellow flashing light, and/or with an “Oversize Load Ahead” warning sign. Follow any instructions from a pilot/escort vehicle.

Anoversized vehicle being escorted by a pilot vehicle on the freeway

Allow extra room and patience for a truck with an ‘Oversize’ sign.

When approaching an oncoming oversize vehicle:

  • reduce speed
  • keep to the left of the centre line
  • be prepared to move to the left side of the road

Be extremely careful when overtaking an oversize vehicle. Oversize vehicles often pull over now and then to allow other traffic to pass.

An oversize vehicle driving on a bridge may not leave enough room for other vehicles to fit on the bridge at the same time. Stop and wait until the oversize vehicle has passed the bridge as they may be unable to reverse.

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