Trucking still goes on

In NZTA, December 2021 / January 20226 MinutesBy Carol McGeadyFebruary 16, 2022

The year brought some unwanted and unique challenges, and while we ponder our ongoing rules and restrictions around the Covid-19 world, trucking continues.

The pandemic has been good for the perception of trucking, as more people now realise that the industry and its drivers are essential workers. Truck drivers kept the food and essential supplies delivered in the most efficient way possible during a very challenging time.

Truckies would like to see more work done on the state of key freight routes. These routes are vital to enable the delivery of goods to all communities. As the freight demand increases, the challenge is that there will be more trucks on the road. Some key freight routes such as Brougham Street in Christchurch are being carved up to add cycle lanes. This can create an unsafe passage for everyone. Brougham Street is a key freight route to the Lyttelton Port but what’s interesting is that people don’t know that a high percentage of trucks on the road are not actually going to the port but are using the road to get to other parts of the city. Everyone wants a direct route to get to where they are going in the shortest possible time. Thoughts and consideration need to ensure all parties are consulted.

It’s not an easy fix, so all road users need to learn each other’s capabilities to ensure they are safe. The team at the New Zealand Trucking Association is enhancing its Truck Road Safety programmes. We are always looking at new ways to deliver behaviour-changing actions. The plans are to develop some augmented-reality experiences so that participants can see a real-life roadconflict situation.

The industry would like to see road users be more considerate and understanding of a truck’s capability. A heavy vehicle takes a long time to stop compared with a car or motorbike. It needs more room to turn, and the space directly in front of the truck is not a gap for another vehicle, it’s the truck’s safety zone. And it takes a long time to pass a truck and trailer. It’s also important that truck drivers understand a cyclist’s capabilities. Passing too close can cause the cyclist to wobble or fall. Allow plenty of space if you are passing a stationary cyclist to turn left.

Because of the capabilities of a motorcyclist, they can carry out more risky manoeuvres. When passing a truck, some motorcyclists leave their headlights on high. This can blind the truck driver when the lights hit their side mirrors. There is a good chance the truck driver has not seen a fast-approaching motorcyclist, so before passing, flick on the lights to warn the driver. If a truck driver cannot see a motorcyclist and the truck is turning into a property or around a corner, it is not good for a motorcyclist to begin a passing manoeuvre. A passing truck can create a lot of turbulence, which can startle a motorcyclist if they are not expecting it.

As 2021 draws to a close, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty, and this can cause stress. During the summer months, as people move about on holiday, truck drivers carry on. If we could get one message out there, it would be this – be patient on the road. Truck drivers have a job to do, don’t make it difficult or stressful for them. While holidaymakers may get frustrated with congested roads, it’s simply not worth taking any risks. It’s better to get to your destination 10 minutes later than not get there at all.

Tips on how to share the road safely

Truck drivers
Give a cyclist 1.5m of space when passing.

Be aware that the truck driver may not see you if you ride up the inside of a truck at an intersection.

Car drivers
• Trucks are very long, and it can take a long time to pass them, so make sure there is enough space before starting your manoeuvre.

• Stay out of trucks’ blind zones, which are directly in front, back and out on each side.

• Give the truck some space when the truck is turning and do not over or undertake at that time.

• Stay out of the safety stopping zone that is directly in front of the truck.

Wait until the truck completely stops before crossing at a pedestrian crossing.

Before passing a truck, or if you are following one, dip your lights and when it is safe to pass, flick your lights to show you are about to do so.

You can check out more road safety tips online at