Top 10 tips from a truckie

A couple of years ago, we took a trip from Melbourne to Dubbo with Rod Hannifey, a trucking safety advocate to better understand the challenges truck drivers face on our roads.

Here's what we learnt

1. Don't cut in front of trucks approaching traffic lights or out on the highway. A loaded B-Double can weigh 40 to 50 times that of the average sedan, so trucks take more distance to stop.

2. 'DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE' sign on the rear of vehicles over 7.5 metres in length allows them to legally turn from the second or even the third lane as needed to safely get round a corner.

3. Don't increase your speed while being passed by a truck.

4. Speed limiting means no engine power above 100 km/h: gravity can push them faster downhill but has the opposite effect going uphill.

5. Road courtesy and a bit of patience may save your life but it could also prevent road rage.

6. Do not travel right on the centre line. If stopped or broken down, where possible park well clear of the roadway and use hazard lights to be able to be seen safely.

7. Dip high-beams before reaching a crest or curve. Dip early when behind trucks and when overtaking, don't move to high beam until past the truck's mirrors. Check headlight alignment regularly, particularly if loaded up on long trips, and only use fog lights in fog.

8. Caravans: When being overtaken, maintain speed and position, only slow when the truck has moved out to pass. Quality mirrors, towing hitches and good advice are priceless. A CB or UHF radio can also be worthwhile.

9. For safe overtaking: Stay back until you can see the road ahead clearly. Pass quickly but sensibly. Don't pull back in until you see both headlights. Maintain your speed.

10. Roundabouts: Larger trucks often need all of the roadway and will aim to maintain momentum to avoid a much slower start and movement through, which can often further delay or stop all traffic.

For more info on sharing the road with trucks, check out this Sharing The Road site. Learn more about NRMA's Roadside Coverage for fleet.

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