Being safe with trucks

Entering traffic

Entering traffic

Entering traffic



After a stop we are all keen to get back on the road. 

As a car driver, many of us do not want to be stuck behind a large truck, caravan or motorhome. 

Cars normally travel at a higher speed and can maintain speed on inclines. Many of us have seen a truck coming and pulled out onto the road and accelerated to get well in front of the truck without affecting the truck in any way. 

When towing a caravan or driving a large RV however, the vehicle's acceleration is severely affected.  It will take a lot longer distance for you to get back up to highway cruising speed. 

At 100km per hour, it doesn’t take long for a car or a truck to catch up to you while you are building up speed in an RV or car with a heavy van in tow. 

The rule is waiting until the truck and other traffic has passed until you move onto the road so as not to hinder the flow of traffic. 

If an approaching vehicle has to slow because you have pulled out onto the road, it means you pulled out too early and you should have waited. 

No one wants an unhappy driver on our rear, upset because you held up traffic by your impatience.  

If we all follow some simple guidelines and think about the other road users we can all enjoy this beautiful country and get home safely to our loved ones to tell them the happy stories of our trip.  

You will feel good being - Truck Friendly.

Fuel stops

Entering traffic

Entering traffic



As with the truck stops please have some consideration for other road users and not park at fuel bowsers any longer than necessary.  

As soon as you have paid for your fuel please move your vehicle before getting that coffee or using the toilet.

A car towing a caravan or large RV will often take up not only the fuel bowser used for the vehicle but also block the fuel bowsers immediately behind therefore often taking up not one but several fuel bowsers at the same time.


Out of common courtesy it is important to other road users that you do not hinder others. 

Tempers can rise if left sitting in a car awaiting an inconsiderate driver ahead at the fuel browser. 

Some truck diesel bowsers are separate to the main fuel filling area so as to provide plenty of space for trucks to get in, out and turn.  

Several have a turning bay associated with them so the trucks and large rigs can fill up and then turn around before exiting or filling a fuel tank on the other side. 

Please do not park any vehicles in these turning areas as this will severely restrict the ability of the trucks to do a U-turn and get back on the road. Most are signposted so please be aware of them and put yourself in the shoes of the truck driver before stopping.

Many service stations have truck parking bays. Please be respectful of these and leave them for the larger and less maneuverable trucks or you may find yourself boxed in while the truck driver has his legally required break.

Turning vehicles & safe stopping

Turning vehicles & safe stopping

Turning vehicles & safe stopping



Longer vehicles often may need to move into another lane to enable it to turn a sharp corner. If a car moves up beside a turning truck it may be hit by the truck.  

The following video link explains how trucks need space to keep you safe.

So how can we help protect ourselves from this happening to us as caravanners?

You will see many trucks with the orange and yellow signs or with a sign on the back saying, 

‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’.     

Only towing vehicles together with trailers and projecting loads over 7.5 metres can legally display this sign.


This can also include many caravan combinations. 

The sign is NOT just a recommendation; it is a legal requirement that you do not overtake a vehicle displaying a 

‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’ 

sign when it is indicating its intention to turn. 

Remember, if you collide with a turning truck displaying that sign you may be fined.


Trucks are large heavy vehicles and as such take a lot longer to stop than a standard car.  

The truck driver will know the stopping distances for their truck and plan accordingly. When stopping at traffic lights there have been many cars rear-ended by trucks when a car pulls into the clear space in front of the truck approaching the lights.  

The truck driver has calculated the distance they need to stop and suddenly it is considerably shorter once a car fills the space resulting in what can often be a fatality for the car driver when hit by the truck or being pushed into the intersection. 

This video explains why you 'by law' must not overtake a vehicle displaying a 'do not overtake turning vehicle sign'. 

Stay Truck Friendly and give the trucks some turning space and space to stop.

Wide Loads

Turning vehicles & safe stopping

Turning vehicles & safe stopping



Sharing the Australian highways with very big loads is part of the adventure of travel.

Regular travellers on Australia’s highways will see a vast array of vehicles and machinery being transported across the country, but few understand the role that pilot vehicles play in escorting these vehicles. It’s a harsh reality but ignoring these pilots and their large & oversize vehicles can have dire consequences.

These “pilot vehicles” travel our highways with a large yellow sign on the roof, accompanied by yellow, rotating beacons to warn motorists of the approach of an oversize load.  Most oversize moves occur during daylight hours, between sunrise and sundown.  Only extremely large oversize movements may happen at night to avoid disturbing heavier day time traffic.  These moves are well lit and are accompanied by a convoy of support vehicles, including police escorts.

The truck driver and escorts communicate on UHF Radio, channel 40.  

These vehicles can be travelling very slowly from sixty kilometres an hour to one hundred kilometres an hour, depending on size and weight, and state laws of course.

Anything wider than two and a half metres is oversize, and the truck carrying this load will be flashing you with bright yellow, rotating beacons and displaying a banner across the front.  If you are approaching the rear of such vehicle, you may see a bright yellow beacon, and warning sign advising the load is wider than normal.

If the load is being escorted by one pilot, it’s wider than three and a half metres.  If the load is preceded by more than two pilots and a Police Traffic Escort, the load is huge and you will have to pull over in a safe place off the road.

The first pilot vehicle you see may also have alternating flashing drive lights known as “wig-wags”.  This indicates the load is more than four and a half metres wide.

Then there’s the rear pilot.  It’s this driver’s job to warn vehicles approaching from the rear of the presence of something big sharing the highway ahead.  

Sharing our roads is the key.  A good tip if you are a regular traveller of our highways is the use of a UHF radio. It could save your life, or at the very least, your caravan or motorhome.  A few stone chips are the least of your worries if you fail to give way to oversize vehicles.

A two-way radio allows you to scan or monitor channel 40 and communicate with the large or oversize vehicles. It’s recommended drivers use channel 40 as the “call channel”, and move to other channels for a chat.

There will be strategic information which you can use to your advantage to make your travels safer.  Most of the time the radio language is purely and simply information about road and traffic conditions.  There is a very short window of chat opportunity when passing in opposite directions.

Some examples of terminology are, “Southbound oversize is 4.5 metres.  You may need to back off and make some room.”

Another example, “Copy in the caravan?  We have six metres.  Please find a safe place to pull over.”

In some states, particularly in Western Australia, oversize vehicles can travel in convoy.  So the call from the Pilot may be, “Copy southbound?  We have two at four and a half metres.”

In most circumstances the pilot or truck driver will instruct you how to safely negotiate the wide load from either direction with safe negotiation as the priority.

It is in the motorist’s best interest to communicate with the pilot and truck driver.  It’s a simple matter of calling up on channel 40. They will do everything in their power to keep everyone in the vicinity of the load as safe as possible.  Your co-operation will make their job much easier.  If they don’t see any indication you’re waiting to overtake, you may stay behind the convoy for more kilometres than you had planned.  

So be on the lookout for pilot vehicles and their oversize loads and share the road safely for a better traveling experience for all.

Source: National Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association and Chris Thiel.