Features, Tech Talk

How to alert road users of a breakdown

breakdown tips

When it comes to heavy vehicle breakdowns, the most important thing is to keep you or your drivers safe.

Whether your truck is broken down in a metro area, freeway or rural road, they all bring their unique challenges to the breakdown scene, but it’s important to remember some key procedures.

To mark the start of National Road Safety Week (November 15-22), we thought it was an opportune time to catch up with Paul Burke, Manager – Business Relationships and Operations at Truck Assist – to discuss what you should know.

“There are three key breakdown tips every driver should know,” said Burke.

“Firstly, put your hazard lights on.  It’s the most immediate way to let others know you’re in trouble or that your vehicle has become a hazard for other road users.

“Hazard lights will alert other road users that there is a potential problem that they need to be aware of.”

Paul’s second point is to pull onto the shoulder of the road, in the direction of the traffic, to avoid becoming a hazard.

“Do this as far to the left as possible to avoid oncoming traffic when exiting and accessing the vehicle,” Burke said.

“Depending on traffic it may be necessary to exit the vehicle using the passenger door to avoid passing traffic.”

Finally, any vehicle or combination with a GVM greater than 12 tonne must, by law, be equipped with a least three portable warning triangles.

“It’s widely accepted as best practice for all trucks over 4.5 GVM to utilise safety triangles as well,” said Burke.

“The warning triangles must be used in situations where the vehicle has stopped, has broken down or the load has fallen onto the road.

“A rule of thumb is to place the triangles twice the posted speed limit in metres in front and behind the truck, in addition to one triangle placed beside the vehicle.

“For example, triangles should be placed 120 metres ahead and behind of your vehicle on roads that are 60km/h.

“Remember – if you’re involved in a breakdown, think about your own safety and never exit the vehicle or take an action that could put you in danger – especially if you’re on a busy highway.”

  • Truck Assist: Powered by NTI is Australia’s leading provider of specialist breakdown assistance for trucks with a national network of over 4000 service providers.  To find out more, visit truckassist.com.au.
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