ERS Driver Safety Series: Trucks, trucks EVERYWHERE!

Trucks, Trucks EVERYWHERE!

Read our previous entries in the series here:

When last have you travelled on the N1 from Johannesburg to Cape Town? During a normal week, you will easily find at least 10 trucks for every motor vehicle on this route. As the N1 is not a double-lane highway all the way, it can cause extreme frustration travelling behind a string of trucks not being able to overtake. I have experienced some hair-raising incidents on this road, which could have led to horrific accidents and loss of life.

I believe it’s important for every motorist to place themselves in the “seat” of a truck driver to try and imagine what it’s like to have to manoeuvre this gigantic vehicle around safely.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  1. You are in charge of a vehicle weighing around 10 tons (or more), driving at an average speed of 100km/h when a motor vehicle overtakes, and pushes in front of you, only to realise the traffic in front is coming to a sudden standstill due to road works. What are your options?
    • Swerve to the left, but the shoulder is high and could cause your vehicle to overturn.
    • Swerve to the right into the way of oncoming traffic.
    • Break as hard as you can, but the vehicle that pushed in has substantially decreased the space you need to come to a standstill safely.
  2. There is a huge obstacle on the road, which you need to avoid. As you see no traffic next to you, you swerve to the right to avoid this, only to realise that a vehicle had started to overtake you. You were not aware of this vehicle as it was travelling closely behind you (and you have no rear-view mirror to have been aware of this) and then started overtaking without ensuring that they were visible in your side mirrors to ensure that you knew about them, thus being in your blind spot for a substantial amount of time.

When overtaking or driving near a trucks, be aware of the blind spots they have around them – also called NO ZONES.

Refer to the below image to understand better. It is difficult for a truck driver to see directly in front of the cab. Imagine the blind spot you have in a normal motor vehicle. In a truck, it is much bigger. And they have NO idea of what is happening directly behind the truck, as they have no rearview mirrors.


  1. You are driving your truck in an industrial area where you need to deliver a load. In a busy intersection, the traffic light is green for you and you need to make your turn. In doing so, you need to swerve into the other lane to allow enough space to turn this huge unit. The other traffic still tries to force past you, which puts you in a predicament as there simply is not enough space for everybody to move.

Always allow additional space for trucks to turn. They might have to swerve into your lane to do so. They are not trying to be spiteful or reckless. It is simply necessary to manoeuvre. As with everything in life – be courteous to save lives and/or prevent damages for all involved.

Whether we like it or not, HCVs (Heavy Commercial Vehicles) are part of our day-to-day lives due to various other factors in South Africa. Ensure that you keep them and yourself safe while driving around them.

Have a look at this informative clip by Arrive Alive on driving around trucks.

And if you are involved in an accident which was #notyourfault, contact us to assist you in recovering your money from the more negligent party. Excel Recovery Services and Phetolo ERS can assist to turn negative impacts into positive outcomes. Help is only a click away:

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