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Home > Tips and Hints > Trip planning and safety > Road Rules and Safety > Sharing the road with trucks

Sharing the road with trucks

Rod Hannifey is a tireless trucking advocate and was featured on the National Caravan TV show Sunday 26th June 2005, on the Ten Network.
Rod Hannifey, a long time Australian truck driver currently with Rod Pilon Transport of Dubbo, is a former ATA Driver of the Year plus the Convoy For Kids Inc Memorial "William 'John' Bond 2004 National Safe Driver of the Year Award winner.
Rod has also been a regular columnist in caravan magazines putting across the view of truck drivers about sharing the road. He also writes in Owner-Driver and is well listened to as a regular presenter on 'Overnight Express' Radio.
Read about sharing the road safely on the following website: Truck Right
In my experience the most difficult situation is with a truck catching up behind a van, and the van driver - believing he is doing the right thing, unnecessarily slows and moves to the left. By slowing before the truck has pulled out to overtake, the van forces the truck to slow, losing its momentum and road speed, which it then has to recover before overtaking.
Though moving left can sometimes reduce wind buffeting for the van, with a rough or broken road edge, it can make controlling the van more difficult and can throw up stones from this normally unused section of road. The truck will always have to cross the centre line, so move left only when conditions warrant it.
I would recommend maintaining your speed and position until the truck pulls out to overtake, and if you wish to assist, only then, lift your foot gently off the accelerator, flash the truckie with your headlight flasher when its safe to move back in and then regain your travelling speed.

Extract from Rod's web page on what to do when being overtaken by a large truck.

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Vehicle Accident Reporting

In all states, a vehicle accident in which there has been bodily injury or potential (eg a neck whiplash injury which may have far reaching consequences in the future may not be obvious at the time of the accident), in which there has been significant property damage (vehicles and/or other property) must be reported to the Police as soon as possible.   If in any doubt, call Police from the accident site and discuss their need for attendance.  This is particularly important where one party may be deemed at fault due to a breach of the law eg failing to give way, or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 




When to report a traffic crash in Western Australia


The driver of a vehicle must report a traffic crash when the incident occurred on a road or any place commonly used by the public, e.g. carparks; and


                    the incident resulted in bodily harm to any person; or


                    the total value of property damaged to all involved parties exceeds $3000; or


                    the owner or representative of any damaged property is not present. 

See WA Police Report a Traffic Crash


Reports can be submitted on line in certain circumstances; see On Line Crash Report 




When to report a traffic crash in South Australia


The types of collisions which must be reported to police by law are defined on the right of this page.

If police did not attend at the scene of a reportable collision, you must report the crash to police by attending at a police station.

If someone was injured or killed in the collision, you must present to a police officer within 90 minutes of the collision.

For all other reportable collisions you must report to a police officer as soon as possible but, except in exceptional circumstances, within twenty four hours after the collision. This does not mean that a driver has twenty-four hours to report a collision because even three hours after the collision, in many cases, could be considered as soon as possible, depending on the circumstances. An example of exceptional circumstances would include a driver who is conveyed to hospital and is admitted for treatment for more than 24 hours.


See SA Police Report a Crash  




When to report a traffic crash in Victoria


Please refer to the pamphlet at Collision Information Pamphlet




When to report a traffic crash in Australian Capital Territory


Refer to ACT Accident Reports 




Guidelines for Reporting a Traffic Crash in Tasmania


A Traffic Crash means an occurrence arising from the operation of any vehicle, aircraft or vessel whereby any person or animal is injured or any property is damaged. It includes any other contingency or similar result requiring investigation or attention by police in the public interest, and includes a crash as defined in the Australian Road Rules.

Where possible, at the scene of the accident/crash all drivers must exchange details (if able to do so). These include details of all full names, addresses and registration numbers of all vehicles and/or pedestrians involved. A Traffic Crash must be reported within 12 months of the date of the crash for a claim to be made under the provisions of the Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB).  Callers can phone the Police Assistance Line (131 444) for a non-emergency, or Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Drivers and pedestrians can visit any police station around Tasmania to report a Traffic Crash.  Minor crashes not requiring police attendance can be reported on line.


Road Safety Records




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Animal strike danger

We do not drive at after dark when towing.  When driving in rural, pastoral, parks or open country there is always the danger of hitting an animal which may suddenly cross the road.  This is particularly important when towing as you have less maneuverability and possibly less braking speed.  The danger is far greater at night, particularly at dusk and dawn when kangaroos are on the move.  When crossing through unfenced stations at night, dark coloured cattle or horses on the road will be difficult to see. In desert areas where feral camels abound, they will step onto the road without warning even during daylight hours.  We saw a caravan which had sustained significant damage due to a camel coming onto the road and hitting it during the day. In Central Australia and the Western Australian deserts camels are a hazard on the road, particularly at night.  Try not to swerve to avoid an animal as you may lose control or have the caravan sway and possibly roll over and sustain more damage than by a direct strike. 


See Animal strike safety  and  Animal alert

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Safety at fuel outlets

Petrol is explosive and the ignition point when filling your car or a portable petrol container can be as simple as static electricity from your body. 
To avoid container fires

Only use containers that meet Australian standards

Keep the nozzle in contact with the container during filling

Fill the container slowly to reduce static build-up and avoid fuel spillage and splattering

Avoid filling a container while it is in the vehicle or on the back of a ute or truck

To minimise the build up of static charge and to control the effects of static discharge:

Switch off your engine. Turn your vehicle off and disable any other auxiliary sources of ignition to avoid the generation of sparks.
Do not smoke. Do not smoke or light matches in the vicinity of the refuelling area.
Do not re-enter and get out of your car. Do not re-enter your vehicle while refuelling is in
progress. Staying outside your vehicle will reduce the potential for any build-up of static electricity to be discharged at the nozzle.
Discharge static build-up. Discharge any static build-up before reaching the nozzle. This can be done by touching the metal door of the vehicle with a bare hand.
Do not jam the refuelling trigger. Do not use any object to jam the refuelling trigger to keep it open.

What about mobile phones?  The use of a mobile phone has not been proven as a source of igntion at a fuel outlet. 
From Safety when refuelling
SeeStatic Electricity caused fire while filling a car at a petrol station

Rob Caldwell of Caldwell Consulting has published Caravans and Trucks Sharing the Road which explains the effects of a truck passing or overtaking on airflow and caravan stability. 


For more on caravan stability and dynamics, see A Correctly Loaded Rig

New South Wales has new guidelines effective 15 October 2014


From 15 October 2014, to help reduce danger to road users and manage crashes more efficiently, you may no longer have to wait for police at a crash site in NSW.


Police will only need to attend if:


         anyone is trapped or injured


        they are needed to direct traffic or deal with hazards


         any drivers appear to be affected by alcohol or drugs


         a bus or truck needs to be towed, or anyone involved has failed to exchange details


See more on NSW Police Road Safety and What to do after a Car Crash Brochure with flow chart.




In Queensland and Northern Territory; make contact by telephone or as soon as possible at the nearest Police station, being in mind the general comments above.