Be courteous to truck drivers
It is important for car drivers to be aware that truck drivers face very different challenges from their own - but without trucks, South Africa will grind to a halt.
As a learner truck driver myself these days, it is becoming painfully clear that the weight and size of a truck as well as the different loads which one might one day carry, means needing more time to get going, to stop or slow down and too many other factors to list. I therefore concur with these tips from MasterDrive on how to share the road safely and courteously with truck drivers:
Leave large spaces between your car and the truck. This will help avoid one of their many and much larger blind spots. Their blind spots are in front or close to their bumper, close behind the truck as well as in certain spots beside the truck.
A rule of thumb is if you can see the driver in the side mirror, they can see you.
Never pull directly in front of a truck or in a small gap between a truck and another vehicle. A medium-sized truck can take 40% longer to stop than a car.
When overtaking, do not just check if there is a gap but check the length of the truck before you go.
Before you do overtake, also make sure you give yourself more than enough time so if the truck is longer than expected you have extra time.
Be extra cautious with trucks carrying abnormal loads.
If there is a double turning lane and a truck in the lane on the left, do not drive next to it. Once they make the turn, this space closes up. The driver left that space there for a reason.
When it rains, leave extra space around the truck as their water spray zone is going to be larger. They will also take even longer to stop.
When travelling in front of a truck, signal early and avoid making sudden turns, as they need longer to stop.
Never stop in the emergency lanes for trucks. These lanes are there for trucks whose brakes have failed going downhill and you could endanger everyone, including yourself.
Do not pressure a truck to drive in a yellow lane so you can pass. They can see more than what you can in that position and will not move over if it is dangerous or illegal to do so. They might also be forbidden by the employer to do so. Those that give you passing space, do it out of courtesy anyway.
Be aware that driving on hilly roads is especially challenging for truck drivers. Do not pass a truck on an incline then cut in front of them on the decline. (Anica Krüger)
Even as early as 1919, the importance of transport by truck was recognised. This historical advertisement is from the magazine
of January in that year.