The human mind can react in a mysterious way when under stress and pushed to the limit. Whether you’ve broken down for the first time – or maybe the first time in a really long time, and don’t recall what to do in the first instance, here are a few tips we've recommend from Roads & Maritime Services…
There is no ‘one solution fits all’ when it comes to heavy vehicle breakdowns. Metro areas, freeways and rural roads all bring their unique challenges to a breakdown scene, but it’s important to remember some key regulatory points. Consider the below 3 steps, and follow them if safe to do so, given your situation:
Put your hazard lights on
It’s the most immediate way to let others known you’re in trouble, and that you’re attempting to control and move your vehicle out of the way, in the safest way possible.
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.
By law any vehicle or combination with a GVM greater than 12 tonne must be equipped with at least 3 portable wanting triangles However it is widely accepted as best practice for all trucks over 4.5 GVM utilise safety triangles. The warning triangles must be used in situations where the vehicle stops, breaks down or the load has fallen onto the road. Warning triangles should be placed clear of the oncoming traffic lane.
A rule of thumb is to place the triangles twice the posted speed limit in metres in front and behind the truck.
120 metres ahead and behind of your work site on roads that are 60km/h,
160 metres ahead and behind of your work site on an 80km/h roads or
200 metres ahead and behind of your work site on 100km/h roads.
Note: Additionally one triangle needs to be placed beside the truck.
The diagram below, taken from the RMS Heavy Vehicle Driver Handbook, provides one example of location points for 100km/h roads: