There has been a significant increase in the number of heavy and long vehicles on our roads over the past 20 years, a trend that is continuing in response to growing demand and supply of goods.
Heavy vehicles are large, not very manoeuvrable and often slow around the city. Therefore, it is important to obey traffic laws, be cautious and patient when near them.
On country roads drivers very often become impatient when behind trucks. Don't take unnecessary risks when overtaking. Always assess the risks.
Drivers on country roads should take extra care when overtaking long vehicles.
Before attempting to overtake, ask yourself the following:
The following video provides tips on safely overtaking a truck
Many heavy vehicles travel at night when it is more difficult to judge their speed and distance from you. When following a heavy vehicle that you intend to overtake, stay well back from the rear of the vehicle while waiting for a safe overtaking opportunity. This will allow you to see further along the road past the heavy vehicle without having to move significantly to the right. It also allows vehicles approaching from the opposite direction to see you earlier.
Road trains can be up to 54 metres long and 2.5 metres wide, with up to three trailers and should only be overtaken with extreme caution:
Slow moving vehicles, including cyclists and large agricultural machinery, such as tractors and harvesters, may be encountered on country roads.
Many trucks carry loads that could be dangerous either through fire, explosion, corrosion or radioactivity. Information about what is being carried is indicated on the vehicle’s emergency information panels.
Overtaking lanes are provided on some rural highways, in particular the Dukes Highway (A8), National Highway (A1) between Port Wakefield and Port Augusta and the Sturt Highway (A20). They give drivers of faster vehicles the opportunity to safely pass slower moving vehicles.
When in an overtaking lane, you must:
Braking distance is the distance travelled by the vehicle once the brakes have been applied. This distance is much greater for heavy vehicles, including buses, due to their additional weight.
Keeping clear of heavy vehicles that are stopping will help prevent crashes.
Take extra care when you enter a road or change lanes in front of a heavy vehicle. Leave plenty of road space, as their additional weight also requires greater slowing distance.
The following video highlights safe driving techniques to prevent a rear-end crash
A blind spot is where you are a driver lose sight of the vehicles around you. Know where a truck’s blind spots are:
Get clear of a truck driver’s blind spot as soon as you can. Move to a position well in front of or well behind (several car lengths), where the driver can see you.
In a built-up area, you must give way to any bus displaying the give way sign if the bus is indicating to move out from the kerb. On a multi-lane road, this only applies to vehicles travelling in the left lane.
However, if the left lane is a bicycle lane or is obstructed e.g. by a parked car, drivers in the lane next to the left lane must also give way.
Do not obstruct the safe and clear passage of trams. Drivers must follow these rules when sharing the road with trams:
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