Tips on sharing the road with heavy commercial vehicles

By Mwaura Njuguna

Picture this: you find yourself driving along the scenic Kenyan roads, admiring the breathtaking landscapes that unfold before you. The sun is shining and life seems blissful. Suddenly, a rumble breaks the tranquillity, and an enormous commercial vehicle emerges on the horizon. Its massive presence demands respect. But how can we ensure a harmonious coexistence between car drivers and truck drivers?

Many small vehicle drivers feel irritated when following a heavy commercial vehicle. There is always a strain of impatience that grips the mind. However, before impatience gets the better of a driver’s ability to make judgements, safety is paramount. The temptation to pass a lumbering truck may be strong, but patience is an ingredient of safety. 

Before overtaking, drivers should always ensure they have a clear view of the road ahead. This helps in judgment. 

Road safety knowledge is paramount. I present to you a collection of essential tips to keep in mind while navigating alongside heavy commercial vehicles. These insights will not only protect you but also foster an environment of mutual understanding and respect on the rods. 

Estimating the distance of oncoming heavy commercial vehicles becomes even more crucial when darkness engulfs our roads. As nightfall shrouds the landscape, their size can often make them appear closer than they actually are. Trust your headlights as beacons of guidance, be vigilant, and exercise extra caution when contemplating overtaking at night. Misjudgement can have dire consequences, and we must prioritize the safety of all road users.

Now, let’s address the issue of blind spots. Imagine a bustling road filled with the presence of numerous lorries. It is here that the danger lies. Attempting to overtake a commercial vehicle in a blind spot is like traversing a treacherous path. Exercise patience, dear motorists, and wait for a safe stretch of road before making your move. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary risks and promote a culture of road safety.

When it comes to safe passing techniques, remember to give vehicles ample space to manoeuvre. Their sheer size necessitates a wider berth to navigate the roads safely. By providing them with the room they need, you not only ensure their safety but also your own. 

Braking distance, a vital aspect of road safety, also deserves our attention. Heavy commercial vehicles require a longer distance to come to a complete stop. So, imagine the perils of overtaking one of these giants and then abruptly slowing down. Such manoeuvres catch them off guard and pose a significant risk to all parties involved. Maintain a safe distance, refrain from sudden moves, and ensure the well-being of everyone on the road.

Uphill or downhill, the principles of respect and safety should never waver. When driving alongside heavy commercial vehicles in such terrains, give them ample room to navigate. Gravity is not their ally, and they need the space to navigate these challenges safely. 

At night, a unique set of challenges emerges. Estimating the distance and speed of oncoming traffic becomes an art. However, be cautious. The headlights of these vehicles can dazzle and distort our perception. Instead, rely on reference points such as road signs or landmarks to gauge their approach. 

Lastly, we must address the significance of allowing heavy vehicles ample space on roundabouts and intersections. These giants require wider angles to turn corners safely.

It is also important to understand that blind spots can hinder the visibility of heavy commercial vehicle drivers. Blind spots sometimes result in unfortunate collisions with smaller vehicles and motorcycles at roundabouts and intersections. Always be mindful of these challenges and caution when sharing the road.

By adhering to these road safety tips, we can foster an environment of understanding, respect, and safety. Remember, a little caution goes a long way in ensuring our collective well-being on the open road.

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