10 tips for being truck friendly
Here's some top tips you can follow to help avoid conflict with truckies while hitting the open road.
1. Don't Park In Truck Parking Areas
It’s as simple as that. Even if you find the caravan parking areas are taken up with cars, its best to move on to another location rather than infuriating truck drivers by using their bays. If you are feeling fatigued and a truck parking area is the only immediate option for you to rest, try to park in such a way as to leave as much space as possible for trucks to park. Refresh yourself and move on. Do not camp overnight in truck parking areas.
2. Keep Your Distance
If you’re travelling in convoy with other caravanners, keep your distance from each other in order to allow trucks and other vehicles room to overtake one of you at a time. By bunching in too close together, you make it almost impossible for overtaking traffic to get past safely.
3. Pick A Speed
If you’re driving on a major freeway or highway, pick a speed to travel at that allows other motorists to pass you safely. You may as well accept the fact that everyone wants to overtake the caravan regardless of what speed you’re doing. We have found that driving at 95 in a 100km/h zone means we are not unnecessarily holding up traffic but we are also making it safer for other vehicles to overtake us.
4. Don't Panic
If you’re about to be passed by a truck, do not panic. Maintain your speed until he has pulled out from behind you and is halfway through passing you. Then back off your speed slightly until the rear of the trailer has passed the front of your car. Signal to him that he is clear by flashing your high beams or advising he is clear over the CB radio.
5. Fit A UHF CB Radio
If you’re going to be towing a caravan for extended periods of time, fitting a UHF CB radio to the tow vehicle is a good investment. One of the biggest problems with using a UHF CB radio to communicate with other road users is that often it is difficult to understand what someone has said. Choose a radio that has a replay button that replays the information.
On the subject of UHF radios, if you have one fitted to your tow vehicle, turn it on and have it monitor channel 40. Granted, you may have to put up with some colourful language from time to time, but at least you can be informed of what’s happening around you and truckies can contact you if needed. It’s good to advertise you’re listening to channel 40 by putting a sticker on the back of your van advising so. If you do have this sticker, make sure your radio is on. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to contact someone and not getting a reply.
6. Single Lane Road Etiquette
If you’re travelling along a single lane road and you come to an overtaking section, keep left and slow down. This will allow as many vehicles behind you to get past you safely. Stay in the left-hand lane right up to the merge. Indicate that you are merging early to give motorists behind you warning that their passing opportunity is closing. Be prepared for other motorists to wait until the very last second to get past you and drive accordingly.
7. Fit Extension Mirrors
Even if you don’t think you need them, fit extension mirrors anyway. They increase your rear field of vision, so you have more chance of being away of what is happening in traffic behind you.
8. Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle
All trucks will display ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ signs on the rear of their rigs. It is the law to obey these signs. If you are approaching a roundabout at the same time as a long vehicle, do not try to get past them on the roundabout. Pull in behind them and go around in turn.
9. Check Your Trailer Lights Daily
Before you head off each day, check to make sure all your trailer lights are working properly. Trailer plugs are notoriously unreliable. One day they may work perfectly and the next day the indicators stop working. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting behind a vehicle and not knowing what their intentions are as far as turning and stopping are concerned.
10. Keep An Eye On Traffic Behind You
Keep an eye on what is happening behind you, especially if you are driving on a single carriageway road. If you start to notice a number of vehicles queuing behind you, look for a safe opportunity to pull over and allow the faster traffic to pass.
This article was originally published in RV Daily Magazine, Issue 048.