SAFETY FIRST: Frasers Livestock Transport fleet manager Mark Collins believes vigilance is the key to driving safely around trucks.
SAFETY FIRST: Frasers Livestock Transport fleet manager Mark Collins believes vigilance is the key to driving safely around trucks. Elyse Wurm

Driving home the big rig safety message

THEY'RE big and they can be intimidating to car drivers, but trucking industry leaders say being aware of big rigs and their capabilities can keep all motorists safer on the roads.

Frasers Livestock Transport fleet manager Mark Collins has been in the trucking industry for 32 years and has spent a lot of time on the road.

He says there are certain actions that can be taken in order to reduce the risk of accidents when driving near heavy vehicles.

Mr Collins said vigilance was one of the key factors when driving safely around large trucks.

"One of the most common problems is that drivers need to be aware of the size of trucks," he said.

"With their weight, they take a lot longer to pull up."

Staying aware of the road conditions also helps ensure appropriate choices are made at crucial moments.

"A lot of the time it's just inattention, people just aren't paying attention to what's around them," Mr Collins said.

"They're not looking out the windscreen at the road and we can only assume that's for phones or the radio.

"I've been in a situation where something is coming at you from the opposite side of the road.

"If your eyes are down, you don't have time to make that decision."

Mr Collins said trucks are speed limited to 100km and although gravity can push them past this point when going downhill, they are unable to accelerate past this point.

Car drivers sometimes report being "pushed" by trucks, but he believes this is because their speedometers display incorrect figures as there is a 10% allowance on readings.

Indicating early and exercising patience can help reduce risks to those behind the wheel of smaller vehicles.

"People need to be patient when following heavy vehicles, rather than trying to pass when there's not enough vision," Mr Collins said.

He also said that driving according to the conditions, such as adjusting for gravel roads, fog and rain, was essential.

"You need to give yourself more room, any vehicle gives off spray but trucks obviously give a lot more," he said.



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