Every motorist can help to reduce the risk of truck accidents

Truck accidents account for 16 per cent of fatal road accidents. Unsurprisingly, in general, more severe injuries result when heavy trucks are involved in accidents. If you have incurred an injury as a result of a truck accident get in touch with our experienced lawyers to find out if you should be making a claim.

As a motorist, understanding the risks involved in driving near trucks is an important step in avoiding truck accidents and keeping safe on our roads.

Keep clear of truck blind spots

Staying clear of a truck’s blind spots is an important first step in avoiding truck accidents. If the truck driver can’t see you, then they won’t know to avoid your vehicle.

There are four main blind spots around a truck, the largest of which is on the left-hand side of the truck and extends down its entire length. The other areas are directly in front of and behind the truck, and next to the driver’s door.

Keeping clear of these blind spots, as well as being mindful you will not be seen when you are in any of these positions, may help you avoid a costly accident with a much bigger vehicle.

Don’t tailgate trucks—keep a safe distance behind

When you’re driving behind a truck, as with other vehicles, be sure to keep a safe distance behind to minimise the chance of truck crashes. Allow enough room to be able to stop safely behind the truck if they were to break suddenly.

As a rule, the faster you’re travelling, the more room you will need to stop safely. Be sure to leave more room when the roads are wet and the weather is wild. This will also help you to see the road ahead and other vehicles.

Overtake trucks safely

Heavy vehicles like trucks often need extra room when turning corners and may use an extra lane when turning. This means you should always give way to turning trucks and don’t attempt to overtake them while they are turning. If you’re overtaking a truck on a highway, only do so when it is safe and the way is clear.

Overtake promptly and accelerate past the truck while staying within the speed limit. To reduce the risk of a truck accident, never overtake a truck near the crest of a hill when your view of the road ahead is limited.

Check your speed

Speeding remains the biggest cause of all motor vehicle crashes including truck accidents. All motorists need to monitor their speed and stay within the designated speed limits on the road.

Drivers also need to be aware of the road conditions and reduce their speed when the weather is bad and visibility is reduced.

Revive to survive

Fatigue is another big killer on the road and a major cause of truck accidents—it causes more accidents even than drink driving. All drivers, especially truck drivers who do long work shifts on the road, need to stop and take breaks to minimise the risk of fatigue while driving.

Signs of fatigue to watch out for include yawning, sore eyes, drowsiness, restlessness and poor concentration.

Take care around trucks

Truck accidents often result in worse outcomes than accidents involving smaller vehicles. It’s important for all drivers to be mindful of the risks involved when driving near heavy vehicles and to take appropriate actions to keep safe.

Further reading

  • Heavy truck safety: crash analysis and trends, Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, July 2016, bitre.gov.au
  • Heavy vehicles, NSW Centre for Road Safety, roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au
  • Sharing the road with heavy vehicles, Department of Transport and Main Roads (Qld), www.tmr.qld.gov.au

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