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. A quick flash of your lights to let them know they have passed and can return to their lane often helps.
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. 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.
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.
They will appreciate it and everyone will have a better journey by being Truck Friendly.