Time and again, you read with horror the news that a truck has run into the end of a tailback and there have been fatalities. Needless to say, this idea is particularly frightening for you as a truck driver. This is why we have put together here for you what you can do to prevent such a disaster.
Take advantage of the rest periods and start alert
Many truck drivers don’t get enough sleep. Traffic jams and congestion, and also checks or lengthy loading and unloading reduce the time on the road, which is already too short anyway. Accordingly, drivers constantly get too little sleep. If your truck is approaching the end of a tailback, just dozing off for a few seconds is enough to cause a life-threatening accident. You know how important it is for you to get a good night’s sleep on the road – not just because of risk of running into the ends of tailbacks, but because they are another important point.
Stay focused and don’t be distracted
It can be boring being out on the roads all the time. But since it is always possible that other drivers misjudge the situation on the road or make mistakes out of uncertainty, you should always keep an eye on the road anyway. That way, you won’t miss the end of a tailback. This means that you should switch off your mobile phone or tablet and only use them during breaks. At the same time it also means that you should not use anything that impairs your senses – alcohol and all other mind-altering substances impair your judgment and make it difficult to concentrate.
Check out your route in advance
Enter the route in your traffic app and see where on the route there are roadworks. This helps you to know early on from which moment you should pay special attention. Also, listen to the traffic information on the radio to find out how much earlier you will meet tailbacks or congestion. Also, always keep an eye out for the mobile road signs that alert you to tailbacks caused by roadworks.
Excessive speed is a risk
As a rule, you should not exceed the maximum permitted speed for your truck. This rule is even more important if you notice that traffic is getting denser. You should not start overtaking manoeuvres now. On the contrary, allow yourself to drop back slightly at this moment to have enough space to brake if the person in front suddenly slows down quickly.
Technology can save lives – if you allow it to
The emergency braking system, which has been mandatory in all newly registered articulated trucks since 2015, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is of course very helpful if the truck brakes on its own if you fail to do so for one reason or another. On the other hand, however, it means that you as a truck driver have to start an overtaking manoeuvre much sooner than usual, because otherwise the system will slow you down. As you might expect, the other road users don’t like this, who will be complaining all the longer about being stuck behind you. Many of your fellow truckers therefore deactivate the system – maybe you do too? Please do not do this. The system can keep you from crashing into the end of a tailback without braking – even if its braking power is too weak to bring you to a complete halt, it will wake you up with lights and buzzing sounds if you drive too close. This may leave you enough time to react.
How to behave correctly at the end of a tailback
You noticed early on that the traffic was getting denser and slowing down. Now turn on your hazard warning lights to alert the drivers behind you to the tailback. Also, keep far right in the correct lane to avoid blocking the rescue lane.
Summary: Anticipatory and attentive driving reduces risks
Checking in advance for possible traffic jams on your route and keeping up to date via the traffic information system is a good way to start your journey. Now it is a matter of paying attention to the road with an alert mind and not being distracted. At the end of the tailback, switch on your hazard warning lights and drive far to the right to avoid obstructing the rescue lane.