Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are very quick to become impatient with heavy commercial vehicles but have you ever stopped to think about the impact that these vehicles have on our economy. That very truck that you are annoyed with because they are driving slowly or are quick to push in front of in the traffic might be carrying your lunch, groceries or building supplies for houses or offices in your neighbourhood.
It is very important to remember that heavy vehicles are limited by law to 80 or 100km/h depending on their size so there is no point in getting annoyed as the driver is most probably just obeying the speed limit.
What motorists, cyclists and pedestrians need to remember is that the visibility from the driver’s seat of a heavy commercial vehicle is not always ideal. The height of commercial vehicles does mean that they offer a great view of the road ahead when travelling in a straight line, however visibility can be seriously hampered in other areas. Due to their height, in many cases, visibility in close proximity and alongside the vehicle is rather limited. In addition load boxes or trailers limit rearward visibility substantially, especially when it comes to bigger wider vehicles.
The golden rule is that if you can’t make eye contact with the driver he probably can’t see you and if you are following a heavy commercial vehicle and can’t see their rear view mirrors, it is impossible for the driver to see you.
“While these blind spots are inherent to the design of commercial vehicles, FAW has gone to great lengths to optimise visibility for drivers and in that way make our vehicles safer and easier for drivers to use,” says Yongjun Li, CEO of FAW Trucks South Africa.
This includes A-pillars that are as narrow as possible and large windows and windscreens resulting in excellent 180-degree visibility. Rear view mirrors incorporate multi angle, multi mirrors that enhance rearward visibility while also allowing drivers to see what is alongside them at road surface level. Large sun visors are a big advantage when travelling at dawn or dusk. Driver’s seats offer a myriad of adjustment options, allowing the driver to optimise their seating position both in terms of ergonomics and visibility.
On the exterior, large powerful headlights, supplemented by cab top daytime running lights allow trucks to see and be seen in low light conditions.
Fleet operators should carefully consider which type of commercial vehicles they are using for which application. For example driving a long haul tractor with 60 tons on a trailer in the inner city will greatly increase the risk of incidents or accidents. Bigger fleets will generally rely on a variety of vehicles that are better suited to all the specific road and traffic conditions in the logistics supply chain.
FAW offer a range of vehicles catering for every need, including a range of freight carriers ranging from 3.5 to 13.5 tons, a variety of truck tractors in 4×2 and 6×4 configuration, Tippers ranging from 3 to 18 cubes as well as 6 and 8 cube mixers.
“Ultimately when a large variety of vehicles with varying speeds and dynamic ability are using the same piece of road there will be some risk, but utilising the right vehicle for the job in the correct manner will go a long way in reducing that risk,” concludes Li.