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Cutting Trucks Off? Here's why it is extremely dangerous


A knowledge sharing bulletin from Chevron on the dangers of cutting trucks off and how it can be extremely dangerous to motorists. 

Passing trucks

  • When passing a truck, allow one car length for every 16km/h. e.g. if you're travelling at 60km/h, leave four car lengths between you and the front of the truck before merging back over.

Rear-view mirror

  • When passing, if you can see the entire front of the truck in your rear-view mirror, it's safe to merge back into the lane.

Maintaining your speed

  • Once you pass a truck and return to the right lane, do not slow down. Maintain your speed and make sure there is a safe space between the truck and your car

Avoid blind spots

  • 70% of all truck-related car fatalities are initiated by car drivers. 35% of them occur in the blind spots around trucks. 
  • Truck drivers can’t see anything closer than 10m and sometimes up to 50m behind the trailer.

Passing safely

  • The longer the truck, the more distance you will need to pass it.
  • Pass from where the driver can see you - not from directly behind the truck.
  • Never pass on the left - the blind spot is even larger on that side.
  • When passing - stay as far to the right as is deemed safe. Don’t linger in the passing
  • It is possible to get rear-ended by a truck or bus if you cut in front too soon after passing. A truck can’t stop quickly!

 Wide turns

  • Truck drivers sometimes need to swing wide either to the left or right to safely make a turn at intersections
  • They cannot see cars squeezing in between them and the curb.
  • Watch for their signals and give them time to turn.

Help trucks get by

  • When a truck passes you, stay left and slow down to allow him to pass
  • If a truck is signalling to change lanes, give it room. The driver may be trying to avoid another vehicle.

Avoid tailgating

  • Unlike cars, trucks have a huge danger zone directly behind them. If you are tailgating a truck, the driver can’t see your car and you can’t see what is going on ahead of you
  • Stay well behind any big truck to avoid a rear-end collision
  • Truck wheels may throw up rocks - and certainly, do throw up water when it’s raining.
  • If a truck in front of you starts to slow down, there may be trouble ahead. Take the hint and slow down too.

Don’t cut in front

  • Don’t cut in front of trucks - they need a lot more time and space to stop than cars
  • Loaded trucks can weigh up to 56 tonnes and take the length of a football field to stop.
  • When entering traffic on a highway or when passing, don’t cut in front of trucks or force them to attempt a sudden stop as this could cause them to jackknife.
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