Prevent Truck Rollover
Knowing how to manage your truck and your load is an important part of being a professional truck driver. Around a third of heavy vehicle crashes in New Zealand involve a rollover and nationally our statistics on rollover are worse than comparable countries. Almost all of these crashes are preventable. Here is some key information.
- Over 50% of truck driver deaths are due to rollovers.
- Most rollovers are proved to be preventable.
- Speed signs on highways are meant for cars, and are not safe speeds for high centre gravity vehicles such as tankers.
- Rollovers are mostly caused by EXCESSIVE SPEED.
Primary Causes of Rollovers
- Entering a curve at too high a speed - Slow down on turns and curves, at least 10 KPH. Always check your speed before you come to the curve. DON'T JUDGE YOUR SPEED BY HOW IT FEELS YOU WILL PROBABLY BE WRONG.
- Swerve to avoid a obstacle -Making sudden manoeuvres at speed with a high center of gravity truck is asking for a rollover. It may be instinctive to turn sharply to miss an obstacle, especially if it’s a person, so don’t put yourself into a position where this is necessary. Always leave yourself plenty of clear vision ahead. Maintain plenty of following distance (at least four seconds). Plan an escape route. If you can’t foresee a clear safe exit, slow down and increase your following distance.
Fatigue, fell asleep, drove off the road-Get sufficient rest before you commence driving. Observe the Hours of Service rules. Take your on-road rest breaks. A short break every 2-3 hours. At least half an hour meal break every 4-5 hours. And if you feel drowsy, STOP, for your own safety and the safety of the other road users.
- Stopping or parking on a soft surface -Road side verges are not usually meant to carry the load of a heavy truck. If one axle group subsides into a soft surface, gravity takes over, and the truck will end up on it’s side. Plan where you pull off the road to stop. Look for paved or other hard surfaces. Avoid unmade surfaces. Choose a flat area.
- Truck not loaded correctly -Partly filled compartments result in load shift and sloshing during a turn and this increases the centrifugal force, and can cause a rollover, even at speeds as low as 15 KPH. Avoid partly filled compartments, if you can’t do so, then reduce your speed substantially before entering a turn. An unbalanced load, especially with full rear compartments and empty front ones, will result in a reduction in steering, and can cause “fish-tailing” and loss of control resulting in a rollover. Leave with a balanced load, and if doing multiple drops, plan the discharges so that the truck axle loadings remain balanced. With a rigid truck and trailer combination, always unload the trailer first.
- Sudden sharp maneuvers due to inattention of the road- Driving is a full time job, keep your attention on the road and the area ahead. Never let yourself get into a situation where because of inattention, you have to make a sudden steering adjustment. If you do leave the paved surface, don’t swing back sharply. Reduce speed, and when slowed turn gradually back onto the road. Always maintain the big picture, then there won’t be any surprises, and you’ll have time to brake or make a smooth turn if you have to avoid an object.
- Driver distracted, drifted off the road -At 100 KPH, your truck travels around 26 metres in one second. That’s more than enough time for your truck to drift off the road onto the verge, and it can be very difficult to recover, especially if the ground is soft, or sloping. Ensure all objects carried in the cab are secured. Ignore external objects that are irrelevant to your driving, such as advertising signs, nice views and the general surroundings. Never let yourself get into a situation where because of inattention, you have to make a sudden steering adjustment. Always maintain the big picture, then there won’t be any surprises, and you’ll have time to brake or make a smooth turn if you have to avoid an object.
Ways to reduce rollovers
- Training, Low COG trucks, Defensive Driving and Roll Stability
- Better truck design and Roll Stability Systems can reduce at-speed incidents
- Only better driving can reduce the others
- Tyre pressures
- Tyre tread depth
- Incorrect brake adjustment and balance
- Loose worn suspension components
- Cracked spring leaves
CLICK HERE to visit the NZTA website for more information about how to prevent Truck Rollover.
NZ Trucking Association Free Workshops
Consider attending our free Truck Rollover Prevention Workshops. Presented by NZTA's Jeffrey Fleury. These workshops are free for all drivers.
NEXT DATE: Saturday October 7th 2017
WHEN: 9am - 11:30am
WHERE: NZ Trucking Association Office, 23 Islington Avenue, Waterloo Business Park, Christchurch.
RSVP: Register you and your colleges, Call Rebecca 0800 338 338.