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.
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