Road safety advocate and truckie, Rod Hannifey, says better understanding between truck drivers and grey nomads is vital to road safety
Not all truckies are perfect, nor are all vanners, but if we work together, it will be a safer and more pleasant trip for all. Please understand that loaded trucks do not accelerate like cars. We need lots of room to speed up, to slow down and to get around corners, so we cannot simply pull out and put our foot down and pass you in 200 metres.
We will try to pick the safest place, some will flash you just to ensure you understand and know they are coming round and the closer you are to the speed limit, or if you slow down at the last minute so we lose any momentum, the harder it will be to get safely past you.
For those turning right into a rest area or little used road, firstly radio communication is the best, by calling a truck behind you and letting them know you are looking for a small turn-off ahead. Without a radio there are two choices … indicate left and move off to the left if possible to let the truck past before you turn, or indicate right (but not too early) and slow and consider moving over to the right hand side of the road – if safe – as this will show the truckie what you are doing and prevent them thinking you are suggesting they pass.
All this depends on the terrain and if you know where the turn actually is. All we ask, is that you understand we are working to deliver the goods for you and all Australians and you are having a lovely holiday and we both want to get there safely … we just have more rules and regulations and laws to comply with than you do.
If you have a UHF radio fitted, we will not know, unless you have a sign on the vehicle or if you call us. Calling as we are already pulling out to overtake is too late. Whether you run on Channel 40, the Highway Channel or Caravan Channel 18, you need to consider signs on the front and rear of at least 200mm high, so we will be able to read them well before we catch up. With signs on the front, oncoming traffic is more likely to call and let you know of a problem or a good place to visit in front.
I am afraid that many truckies often think it is only us on Ch 40 and this can offend so, rather than turn the set down and then forget, consider using Channel 18, particularly if you are travelling in a group … we do not want to know how good your cuppa was, while we try to tell someone of a hazard ahead.
Thanks … and safe travelling!