Great trucking advice – Safety tips – Part 1

This is the second article in what will now be an on-going series on great trucking advice. Trucking is a robust and sometimes tricky business. It requires a high level of professionalism by highly trained Drivers.

 

We know from facilitating our own Driver’s training program that good truckers take great pride in their ability to deliver any load safely and whenever possible – on time. We hope, therefore, that this series is helpful. Much of it will not be new to trained Drivers, but one never knows what can be learned from others.

 

Safety first

The lives of the Driver and everyone he encounters on the roads is the primary concern of every capable and conscientious trucker. These are a few safety tips – basics really, but those which could be refreshed from time to time to ensure you stay alive and accident-free.

 

  1. Be Alert

 There is a great reason this is the number one tip – it is the most important. To ensure one is awake and alert at all times should be the first consideration of every Driver. Be aware at all times of who’s in front of you and behind you.

 

Plan an escape plan for any eventuality, do you have enough area of the road around you to take evasive action? Are you fully awake and capable of remaining so throughout the journey? If not, plan to stop and refresh yourself and stick to your Driver schedule, which should allow for enough rest.

  1. Be alone – Whenever possible

 Short and sweet – avoid heavy traffic whenever possible. Try to arrange to be as alone on the road as often as you can.

 

  1. Be weather-wise

Knowledge of weather changes and continuously checking the weather conditions facing you on the journey is all part of proper trip planning. There is no excuse not to either, with many useful weather apps available on all phones.

 

It goes without saying, when there is rain, fog or any other form of more reduced visibility – ensure you increase your following distance. Trucks are long and heavy vehicles that can take a long time to stop in wet conditions!

 

  1. Be delivery smart

If you are not familiar with the delivery depot or truck stops for that matter, take the time to pull over and take a few minutes to do a walkthrough to know what any possible hazards may be there. Will you be able to park safely without getting parked in?

 

Will you be able to turn around when you’re done and avoid reversing? Statistics show that many safety records are blemished by truckers striking objects when changing. Don’t let it happen to you!

  1. Be rested

All it takes is some regular stops at lay-bys on the road to refresh yourself a little. Get out and take a walk around your truck – this also gives you a chance to do a quick safety inspection – Check your load.  Look for soft tyres, air leaks, check under the truck for any fluid or oil leaks.

Be a great Driver and get the trucks that keep you safe – and keep you going

FAW South Africa has some of the most reliable and toughest vehicles on the road, all with great warranties, enabling every trucker and trucking company to have ‘peace of mind’ on and off the road.

With the purchase of any new FAW truck, we also offer Driver training, which is available upon customer request. Should a customer determine that a particular driver needs additional training for optimal output on a vehicle, FAW is always happy to oblige.

We hope you have found this article on great trucking advice – Safety tips – Part 1 useful and informative and that you will watch this space for part 2. Contact us if we can be of service to you be careful out there – Happy trucking!

Great trucking advice – the slow lane

We are now embarking on a new series called ‘Great trucking advice’ which will be conveying useful information to truckers and truck owners alike on many subjects. Some, like this article ‘Great trucking advice – the slow lane,’ will be to do with rules of the road, many will be on safety tips, some about trucking etiquette, some on finances and some on general subjects within the logistics industry.

The slow lane

There is a lot of controversy and even some confusion surrounding the use of the slow lane – or that portion over the ‘yellow lines’ on the highways of South Africa. It is well known that this portion of the road is designed to allow emergency vehicles to pass in the event of jammed traffic or accidents, and yet it seems to be expected for Truckers, due to their generally slower speed, to stay within this lane to let others pass.

“When in doubt” we always say, refer to the experts and the law, so let’s take a look at what they have to say on the matter.

The law

Applicable to trucks and motorists alike is that the yellow line lane may never be used as a passing lane on any highway! There are, according to Regulation 298A of the National Road Traffic Act, some exceptions however with regard to driving in or stopping in the yellow line lane in certain circumstances. These are:

  • In the case of breaking down on the highway, one may pull over to clear the road of the parked vehicle
  • You may also pull over into this lane if you need to stop for a medical or other emergency
  • You may in exceptional and genuine emergencies like rushing someone to a hospital, use this lane, but with extreme caution
  •         On the highway, only emergency vehicles may use the yellow lane to pass others.

Single lane carriageways

There are clear exceptions to these rules on a single lane carriageway however and this is where truckers need to be aware that they may well be expected to use the slow lane to give way to others. After all, particularly in busy times like on public holidays this eases congestion on the roads and simply makes sense. Even so Truck Drivers do this as a matter of courtesy and are definitely not legally obliged to, particularly if they sense any sort of danger in doing so.

Even if they do choose to do so – there are legal specifications as to when they should definitely not – and this mostly has to do with visibility. Truckers may not pull over to the slow lane when:

  • It is night time. As visibility is less at night this is only accepted as a daylight practice
  • There is less than 150 metres of clearly visible road ahead of you. Truckers may not drive in the yellow line lane when on a blind rise, or when there is rain, fog, or any other visual impairment
  • There is any chance at all of endangering another life.

 

In essence motorists need to understand that truckers in fact have the clearest vision of what lies ahead on the road. It is for you the truck Driver therefore to be courteous, but never compromise anyone’s safety to do so – including your own!

Get the trucks that keep you safe and keep you going

FAW South Africa have some of the safest and toughest vehicles on the road all with great warrantees and optional service plans, enabling every trucker and trucking company to have ‘peace of mind’ on and off the road.

Contact a FAW dealer near you to check out our latest fantastic range of top quality freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers, which all come standard with competitive warranties and 24hr roadside assistance. FAW trucks are proudly built in South Africa for Africans – so contact us if we can be of service to you.

We hope you have found this article on ‘Great trucking advice – the slow lane’ useful and informative and that you will watch this space for many more. Be careful out there and happy tru