Overtaking and being overtaken.


This video helps explain about what to do at a roundabout when following a truck.



One of the biggest complaints made by truck drivers is that RV’s & caravanners try and help by slowing down when they are approaching an overtaking lane or opportunity. 

They mistakenly believe that when they slow it makes it easier for the truck to overtake.  In fact it makes it much harder for the truck driver.  

By slowing down before the overtaking lane, the truck driver behind you, must also slow, therefore losing momentum and the engine may also slow to below its most powerful revs. It will then take longer to build up speed to overtake and it may run out of double lanes before it has completed the overtaking manoeuvre leaving the caravan or RV with nowhere to go when their lane ends.      

Remember, many trucks are speed limited so cannot overtake at high speed.     

The best way to help is maintain your speed until the truck is beside you in the other ‘overtaking’ lane, not behind you, and then ease off your accelerator to gently slow your rig. Keep your van straight and avoid heavy breaking that may cause the van to sway.     

The rush of air from the passing truck can also cause caravan sway, so be prepared. 

This will help the truck get past faster, safer and without losing valuable engine power or speed, especially as many overtaking lanes are on inclines where trucks and caravans struggle to maintain their speed.     

Once again, communicate with the truck driver and let them know what you intend to do BEFORE you do it.


Be sure to keep an eye on the rear view mirror and do a head check of your blind spot to ensure there are no other vehicles also wanting to overtake you at the same time tucked in behind the truck.    

It is better to have them overtake and get away from you than have them constantly behind you getting agitated. 

Agitated drivers have been known to overtake when it is not safe out of pure frustration - endangering the lives of themselves, you and the other road users.  

There also may be that driver who tries to out run you before the end of the overtaking lane, so indicate early that you are running out of your lane and are moving back into the other lane when safe. Let them know your intentions early.     

Other drivers will appreciate it and you will often get a “thank you” over the radio. 

You will feel good knowing you have been Truck Friendly and have helped and brightened someone day.     


Be sure to give anyone overtaking you plenty of space and move as far left in your lane as you can safely. 

Stay in your lane and do not move off your lane onto the shoulder due to rocks, and unsafe road surfaces. All drivers do not like having their windscreen smashed by the driver in front showering them with loose rocks from the side of the road. Keep your van straight and avoid heavy breaking that may cause the van to sway.  

Gently back off the accelerator once the overtaking vehicle is beside you to help them get passed as quickly and safely as possible.     

Communication prior to the overtaking is always good and let’s everyone know what is happening.      

When you see the truck behind, let the truck driver know that you are aware they are there and you are ready to help when needed. They usually appreciate the offer to help and will let you know when they are coming around.   

DO NOT USE YOUR INDICATOR TO TELL THE OTHER DRIVER THAT IT IS SAFE TO OVERTAKE. This is illegal and dangerous as you do not know the skill and experience of the other driver, you do not know the acceleration of the following vehicle and you may pressure them to do something that is not safe for them and putting all lives at risk.

Use your radio to talk to them is the best advice.

Often they are familiar with the road and they may be comfortable to stay behind you as they know a passing lane or small town may be coming up where it is safer to overtake or for you to pull over.  Keep an eye on the rear view mirror and if you see a line of cars behind you remember it is safer to let them pass than have agitated drivers being held up.   

When it is safe, pull off the road and let them all pass, especially if you are passing through a small town or village where there is plenty of safe places to pull over at lower than highway speeds. 

This video explains about being overtaken by a truck.


Check out the 3-2-1- Green reflectors article on how to find a safe place to pullover.   https://truckfriendly.com.au/travelling-in-convoy


Ask yourself the questions:- 

  • "Do you really need to overtake the vehicle in front? Why do you need to overtake?"
  • "Are you or the vehicle in front likely to stop a little further up the road?"
  • "Are you due for a break and stop for a coffee instead?"
  • "Is there likely to be an overtaking lane or safer place to overtake up ahead?"
  • "Are you leaving enough space for other vehicles behind to leap frog around your vehicle and the one in front and therefore do not need to overtake?"
  • "Have you communicated your intentions with the truck in front?" They may say they are stopping ahead etc.

Always try and ensure the vehicle in front is aware that you are there and intend to, or are overtaking. Many truck drivers will assist by letting you know when the road ahead is clear and safe to pass.

Make sure there is enough room for you and the caravan or RV to overtake safely. 

Accelerate smoothly and watch out for caravan sway during and at the end of the overtaking manoeuvre.

If passing, or being passed by a large truck there will be a suction effect behind the truck and an air wall in front of the truck. This suction and then push effect can cause the caravan to be sucked into the truck at the start and then pushed away from the truck when completing the overtake. 

An unstable or badly loaded caravan can start to sway and it can quickly escalate out of control, especially at speed.  Check out the link to the Caravan Sway video abo

Many caravans and tow vehicles have been caught on trucks dash cams swaying and eventually rolling from this suction and push effect of the air around a large vehicle travelling at speed.

Give plenty of room before you pull back into the left lane and remember the length of your caravan needs to be allowed for plus a safety buffer for the vehicle you have just overtaken.

All movements should be smooth to help avoid caravan sway.

Have a look at this video on overtaking a truck. 


Other drivers will appreciate your professionalism and everyone will have a better journey by being Truck Friendly.