- Give truckers break – they’re bigger than you
- Some simple suggestions for driving in rain
- Mostly, it’s just commonsense and good manners
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Driving in front of or even behind an articulated or other large truck can suddenly become a perilous pastime on South Africa’s roads – especially during a Highveld thunderstorm.
So, courtesy of IAM RoadSmart’s Richard Gladman, here are seven potentially life-preserving driving tips…
“If you can see their mirrors, then they can see you.” Theoretically – but an HGV can have as many as five mirrors and the driver can only see one at a time so might not see you. Hold back on overtaking – you will eventually be visible.
WATCH FOR LANE CHANGES
Identify the possibility of an HGV changing lanes. Is a freeway exit coming? The truck might move right to give joining traffic a chance. Or, if there is an HGV in lane two, might return to the nearside lane? Be accommodating by hanging back and allowing the lane change.
Heavy trucks, driving in rain, can throw up a lot of tyre spray. Extend your road view by falling back. The British Highway Code suggests a vehicle separation of at least four seconds (at any speed) but use your brain if the rain becomes torrential.
An articulated tractor-trailer(s) will track wide through a bend in the freeway and (particularly) when negotiating a roundabout. Avoid being alongside when the turn is made…
Traffic queue ahead, large truck behind? Apply brakes gently to warn the trucker and slow gradually. This will let the HGV driver extend braking distance.
On a motorway or dual carriageway, hazard lights can be used to warn following drivers of any issue up ahead.
If you come up behind a truck at 120km/h give the driver a chance to pull into the left lane.
…AND A FEW LAST WORDS
Gladman added: “As any HGV driver will tell you, they sometimes need a bit of extra space to move down the road. Visibility can be restricted and no number of mirrors will allow all of the blind spots to be monitored at the same time.
Applying some simple rules and sharing the road space will make life easier for everybody. On a roundabout they will need more than one lane so let them have it… few seconds delay will be worth it if you prevent a crash.
Drive a mile in the trucker’s boots and understand what he might need.