NHVR pleads with light vehicle drivers to be safe around trucks this snow season

Following three fatal crashes involving trucks in NSW’s Snowy Region last year, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is reminding light vehicle drivers of the need to “stay aware and take care” on our roads this snow season.

From June to August 2023, NHVR chief operations officer Paul Salvati says there were five crashes involving heavy vehicles in the Snowy Region, with three being fatal.

“The Hume, Monaro and Snowy Mountains Highways are key routes for heavy vehicles, and during the winter season traffic increases considerably as light vehicle drivers travel to snow resorts in New South Wales,” Salvati said.

“Any life lost on our roads is a tragedy, and we know during the winter months there are plenty of families hitting the road to enjoy all the Snowy Region has to offer, which makes it all the more crucial that light vehicle drivers know how to safely share these busy highways with trucks.”

The NHVR is reminding motorists that trucks need more distance than cars in order to brake safely, and the condition of the road can severely impact how the truck operates, particularly in wet conditions or snow.

“We are urging motorists not to cut in front of a truck or linger near them, as you could end up in their blind spot,” Salvati explained.

“Be mindful when approaching a truck that they have less visibility and reduced mobility compared to light vehicles.”

In July and August last year, NHVR fixed Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Cameras monitored the Monaro Highway at Cooma where 10,534 trucks headed southbound and 12,823 northbound.

During the same period, the Hume Highway at Yass recorded 55,380 trucks northbound and 82,269 southbound, an average of 2596 trucks per day across both highways.

For the Snowy Region specifically, there is an increase in heavy vehicle movements due to the Snowy 2.0 project, which includes transporting goods and machinery with oversized loads through the Snowy Mountains.

Salvati also added that while safe driving practices are critical for light vehicle drivers, it’s also important for heavy vehicle operators to prioritise scheduling their trips in advance with the increase in traffic.

“It’s paramount that drivers are properly managing their fatigue and complying with their work and rest requirements during these busy couple of months, with fatigue one of the leading factors contributing to heavy vehicle crashes,” he said.

“There are many different signs of fatigue, so it’s important that drivers listen to their body and take extra rest breaks whenever they’re needed.”

Some key heavy vehicle rest areas in the area include Marulan, Goulburn, Williamsdale, Lake George and Cooma.

The NHVR also issued a reminder to heavy vehicle drivers as well as operators who recruit new drivers that it’s crucial to get familiar with the route before commencing a journey.

“Often there can be last minute changes to a driver’s journey, which is often out of their control due to the conditions of the road,” Salvati said.

“Always have a backup route in mind, or alternatively you can use the NHVR’s Route Planner which maps out approved routes for use by heavy vehicles.”

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