–Constable Tim Schewe
One of the critical concepts I learned as a collision investigator is that fully loaded heavy trucks have 50 to 60% of the braking capability of light vehicles. This assumes that the braking system is not overheated, has been maintained properly and is correctly adjusted.
Air brake systems also suffer from brake lag, a short time period that occurs between the driver stepping on the brake pedal and the brakes starting to apply.
These two thoughts ran through my mind when I read a Facebook post from a commercial driver. He had used a frame from his dashcam that showed the proper following distance between his front bumper and the back bumper of the pickup truck ahead of him.
He had drawn a pink rectangle in this space and advised that he needed every inch of it to stop if something happened to require it. If that space wasn’t there, whatever was inside it was going to be crushed.
Think carefully about that for a moment.
We’ve all been taught to leave at least a two-second following distance between us and the vehicle ahead of us when conditions are good. When they are not, we need to leave more space, perhaps adding another second for each factor that departs from the ideal.
Remember that 50 to 60% braking comparison? This means that heavy commercial drivers actually need to follow a five-second rule. So do the drivers in front of them!
We should also have been taught that we don’t complete our pass or change lanes unless we can see all of the front of the vehicle behind us in our inside rearview mirror. This may not be enough space when a heavy commercial vehicle is behind you. In fact, if you are too close to the front of a heavy truck, you could become invisible to its driver.
The area in front of a commercial vehicle is not the only place that a light vehicle driver needs to worry about. There are a number of other “No Zones” beside and to the rear. Ignoring them could involve you in a squeeze play as this driver in Port Alberni found out.
For more on sharing the road with heavy commercial vehicles, see this article on the TranBC web site.
- DriveSmartBC: Reporting commercial transport traffic violations
- DriveSmartBC: Producing Your Driver’s Licence
- DriveSmartBC: Speed from skidmarks at a collision scene
- DriveSmartBC: Glaring fog lamps
- DriveSmartBC: Driving with vision obstructed
- DriveSmartBC: Maintaining Proper Lane Position
- DriveSmartBC: The armpit belt
- DriveSmartBC: Back to School 2019
- DriveSmartBC: Settling a debate about impeding traffic
- DriveSmartBC: Pavement Marking in Progress
- DriveSmartBC: Think Ahead!
- DriveSmartBC: Should I Signal?
- DriveSmartBC: When emergency vehicles can violate traffic rules
- DriveSmartBC: Turning Right in Sechelt
- DriveSmartBC: RCMP advanced driver training taught the four corners of the car
- Distracted Driving Laws in B.C.
- DriveSmartBC: “Spring Cleaning” for your trailer’s surge brakes
- DriveSmartBC: The Wisdom of Google
- DriveSmartBC: Please, Not So Close!
- DriveSmartBC: The ICBC “Dumpster Fire”
- DriveSmartBC: Intersection watch, stop sign refresher
- DriveSmartBC: Things that go bump in the parking lot
- DriveSmartBC: Problems with deferred maintenance
- DriveSmartBC: Fear of police retaliation
- DriveSmartBC: Taking cyclists seriously
- Car owner tip: Refer to your owner’s manual
- DriveSmart: Exit not required, you can stay an “N” drivers forever!
- Resistance to stopping can be overcome, for safety’s sake
- DriveSmart: Why didn’t the pedestrian cross the road?
- DriveSmart: It’s winter tire time again