What should you bear in mind to safeguard your personal safety?

Many motorists can attest to the fears they have daily – the worry of sharing the road with big, powerful 18 wheelers. Accidents where trucks are reportedly involved are in the media virtually daily and this has only added to our fears of becoming a statistic.

According to reports released by Fleetwatch, as many as 80% of the heavy trucks on our roads are unroadworthy. This very statistic is shocking, however, what is far more concerning is that these figures reveal a distinct lack of accountability regarding truck roadworthiness regulatory compliance. The result of this is seen through the high accident statistics on South African roads.

Sharing the road with trucks

What can you do to share the roads with trucks, safely?

It’s about being aware and alert – making sure you understand the best ways to avoid getting in a trucks ‘way’. Defensive driving techniques can help you avoid or minimise the risk in potential hazardous situation by learning to anticipate and read the situation. You cannot change the way other road users behave but you can learn to understand your risk on the road and what you can do to avoid or minimise the risk. There are basically only two things a driver can do to avoid an emergency situation, adjust their position on the road or adjust their speed. Failure to notice high-risk situations result in drivers running out of time and space, making a crash unavoidable.

Here are other important safety measures:

  • Always be cognizant of the fact that trucks make wide-turns – make way as more often than not your car is not visible to the truck driver
  • Always avoid cutting in front of a truck or breaking suddenly whilst driving in front of a truck – heavy trucks cannot stop quickly
  • Be extra cautious when driving in a truck’s blind spots – if you can’t see the truck driver’s face in the rear-view mirror then the driver can’t see you
  • Avoid driving alongside a truck for long periods of time
  • Always apply extra caution when driving next to a truck in bad weather
  • Be a responsible driver, use your signals, don’t get distracted
  • Be alert, cautious and anticipate potentially dangerous situations
  • Adopt a defensive driving mentality

Start with your own driving behaviour, and apply defensive driver behaviour patterns around trucks. Instead of seeing trucks as an obstacle to get around, employ the above tips when driving close to large vehicles – for your own safety and those of other road users.

This month, Matrix is giving away a defensive driving course to help you become an even better driver.
To enter the lucky draw, simply complete the entry form before 31 May 2019.

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