In 2016 there were 190 fatalities from 169 fatal heavy-vehicle crashes in Australia.
Of these accidents involving heavy vehicles, technical failure, infrastructure and weather conditions accounted for 15 per cent while human factors were responsible for around 85 per cent.
More than 60 per cent of accidents involving heavy vehicles in 2016 were caused by human factors (other than the truck driver)Improving Heavy Vehicles Safety the Australian Way
These statistics, taken from the, ‘Improving Heavy Vehicles Safety the Australian Way’ - a position paper, identifies that of the 85 per cent of accidents involving heavy vehicles 21 per cent was due to truck drivers while 64 per cent was due to human factors other than the truck driver.
From the above statistics, considerations must be given to how best educate other road users in relation to sharing the road with trucks.
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Motorists would benefit from instruction and guidance on sharing the road with trucks.
Follow these six top tips to get there safely
1. Don’t overtake turning vehicles
Trucks need more space to make it safely around corners and roundabouts.
Sit back and wait until the truck is safely through the corner and avoid a nasty accident.
2. Avoid blind spots
Truck drivers rely on their mirrors to know what’s around them.
Be sure to avoid their blind spots, especially down their left side. If you can’t see a truck’s mirror, the driver can’t see you.
3. Don’t cut in – consider braking distances
A fully loaded truck needs twice as much room to stop as a car.
If you see a big space in front of a truck think twice before jumping in.
For your safety and theirs, please don’t cut in.
4. Maintain your speed
When being overtaken by a truck it is important to maintain your speed and please do not accelerate.
The key is courtesy on the road—it takes a long time for a truck to overtake so it is safer to slow for a moment and let them pass.
5. Road positioning and courtesy
A truck uses its entire lane.
Park well clear of the roadway if you are broken down—switch OFF your headlights and switch ON your parking and hazard lights.
Stay to the left of your lane to avoid buffeting from a passing truck.
6. Use Your headlights safely
Ensure you dip your high beam before reaching a crest or curve and dip early when coming up behind a truck—their large mirrors don’t have an anti-glare position.
Using your headlights on low beam during the day is a good way to ensure you are seen by all oncoming traffic.