Amid prolonged and intense rainfall events across many parts of the country, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is emphasising the importance of safety and preparedness for truck drivers navigating the wet conditions.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the regulator is reminding drivers of ways they can stay ahead of the storm, by highlighting some of the key measures and equipment they should be taking on their journey.
“As part of our commitment to promoting road safety, we are urging all truck drivers to take necessary precautions and equip themselves appropriately to ensure a safe and secure journey,” Petroccitto said.
“First and foremost, heavy vehicle drivers should be ensuring routine vehicle maintenance is up to date and pre-departure maintenance checks have been completed, before travelling to their destination.”
This includes inspecting the vehicle’s tyres, making certain of proper tread depth and inflation, with adequate traction crucial in wet and slippery conditions, he added.
“Drivers should also be checking the functionality of all lights, including headlights, hazard lights, brake lights and turn signals, in addition to testing windshield wipers.
“The NHVR’s number one priority is ensuring the safety of all road users, rain, hail or shine, and these are the safety measures that could save a life.”
NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati said heavy vehicle drivers should also be ensuring that their brakes are in optimal condition.
“It is crucial for heavy vehicle drivers to regularly check and maintain their brakes, especially in wet weather conditions,” Salvati said.
“Drivers should also make sure their load is properly secured and take caution when loading and unloading in adverse weather conditions, and always follow safety protocols.
“We are urging heavy vehicle drivers to plan their journey, taking into account road closures, detours, or other important updates, and stay informed about weather forecasting along their route.”
Salvati said while these safe driving practices are paramount for truck drivers, the NHVR would also like to remind light vehicle drivers that unlike cars, heavy vehicles are difficult to maneuver.
“Risks of serious injury from a collision with a heavy vehicle is far greater than with a light vehicle, and in extreme weather conditions where visibility can be significantly compromised, it is crucial to keep a longer driving distance between your vehicle and a truck,” Salvati said.
“Heavy vehicles are larger, are unable to stop suddenly and require longer braking distances.
“We ask both general motorists and heavy vehicle drivers to be patient during these wet conditions, where road congestion can increase.”
The NHVR encourages heavy vehicle drivers to carry a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essentials such as a flashlight, reflective vest, extra warm clothing, and a first aid kit.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that things are set to get even wetter before they dry up after a turbulent few months of storms.
The forecaster is predicting a wet end to January for the east coast as well as in the north of the country thanks to a strong monsoon trough that’s soaking the Top End and Far North.