When we’re driving in our vehicles, we’re in our own little bubble. It’s easy to forget we must share the road with cars, trucks, caravans, trailers, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
The Industry Road Safety Alliance has gathered ten top tips for sharing the road with road users of all types.
- Don’t cut in front
Don’t cut in front of any vehicle approaching traffic lights or out on the highway. The space in front of the vehicle is its safe stopping space, which is particularly important to remember for heavy vehicles. A loaded B-Double can weigh up to 40 to 50 times that of the average sedan. Simple physics means trucks take more distance to stop.
- Overtake only when safe
Make sure you can see far enough ahead to pass safely. Pass quickly, but sensibly, and within the law. Don’t pull back until you see both headlights in your mirrors. Maintain your speed, don’t pass and then slow directly in front of the truck. To take a large risk for a gain of a couple of minutes is unsafe and often unnecessary.
- Do not overtake turning vehicle
Vehicles more than 7.5 metres in length can legally turn from the second or even third lane as needed to safely get around a corner. Stay back; don’t move into the blind spot to the left and rear of the vehicle.
- Maintain your speed
When being overtaken, do not allow your speed to increase. This only increases the time involved. If anything, ease up on the accelerator to allow the vehicle to pass safely.
- Road positioning
Larger vehicles need more of the road, so to give them enough space, make a habit of keeping to the left. Use the road width available to give space between you and opposing traffic.
- Lights at night and in fog
High beam glare can contribute to night-driving fatigue. Dip your lights early when approaching another vehicle, and before reaching a crest or curve. Don’t wait to be flashed, then dip. Check your headlight alignment regularly, and only use fog lights in fog.
- Towing boats, trailers, caravans
Maintain your speed and position when being overtaken while toping a boat, trailer or caravan. Do not slow down or move off the edge of the road. Quality mirrors, towing hitches and a UHF radio can be great investments in safety.
- Practise the dutch reach
Get into the habit of reach for the door handle with the left (inside) hand. This manoeuvre, known as the Dutch Reach, will twist your body slightly and make checking easier to ensure you don’t open your door into a cyclist, pedestrian or other traffic.
- Keep your attention on the road
A distracted mind can miss critical dangers on the road, reduce your field of vision and cause slower reactions. Be prepared for the journey, put away electronic devices, and ensure your full attention is on the driving task.
- Show courtesy on the road
Road courtesy and a bit of patience may save your life. We’d much rather a wave of thanks than a shaken fist. Improved driver education and awareness of other types of road users can only improve safety for all.
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