Australia's leading truck insurer, National Transport Insurance, is urging truck drivers to stay safe by sharing the road and being aware of less experienced drivers this Christmas period.
NTI Chief Executive Officer Tony Clark said the company has seen a 3.7 per cent increase in the number of serious truck accidents over the past 12 months, as well as a 7.3 per cent rise in the total cost of accidents.
"The lead-up to Christmas is a very busy time with cars often travelling on roads the driver isn’t necessarily familiar with,” Mr Clark said.
“At the same time, transport operators are working hard to ensure shelves are stocked – this is a peak time for them.
“Fatigue, inappropriate overtaking, and underestimating the road conditions can all be a recipe for disaster.
"All drivers must be mindful of other road users and do their part to ensure everyone reaches their destination safely.”
Mr Clark also urged the trucking industry to step up over this busy time. “With greater congestion on our roads over Christmas, NTI urges our professional drivers to remain acutely aware of road conditions and the threat of less experienced road users as they deliver supplies for the Christmas holidays,” he said.
NTI recommends motorists keep in mind four tips when sharing the road with trucks this Christmas:
Don’t cut in: Trucks are heavier than cars, so need more space when stopping. For example, at 100km/hr a truck needs an extra 30m to come to a stop compared to a car travelling at the same speed.
Give trucks room to turn: Some trucks need extra room at corners, intersections and roundabouts. Trucks over 7.5m must carry a sign saying “Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle”. This means the truck can legally use two lanes to make their turn, and may need to turn left across your path to turn left.
Be aware of blind spots: Remember – if you can’t see the driver’s mirrors, he/she can’t see you!
Overtake with care: It takes about 25 seconds to overtake a large truck on the open road – a long time if you’re on the wrong side of the road. Make sure you have the time and clear visibility.