How drivers and operators can avoid HV rollovers
According to the Office of Road Safety, 18% of road crash fatalities in Australia involved a heavy vehicle in 2019. While crashes involving heavy vehicles (HV) are relatively lower than other road users, these crashes usually result in serious injury and even death. Furthermore, Heavy vehicle rollover and other HV crashes also cause devastation to other road users as well as their drivers and nearby properties.
Deaths from articulated truck crashes are slowly declining, but fatalities resulting from heavy rigid truck and bus crashes have not seen a decline in the last 10 years.
Road crashes result in about 500 heavy truck drivers or occupants being hospitalised each year, 30% of which are classified with high threat to life injuries.
Because of the size and weight of heavy vehicles, the other vehicles or road users they collide to endure the worst of the crash, and this is why heavy vehicle rollover prevention should be taken seriously.
3 Common HV rollover myths
Many people undoubtedly have preconceived notions about what causes heavy vehicle rollovers. While statistics and science back some of them, there are those that are actually the opposite of what’s been happening. Here are three common myths of heavy vehicle rollover causes.
1. Myth 1: Poor driving conditions cause most rollovers
- Environmental and roadway factors cause only 4.7% of single-vehicle rollovers.
- More than half (56%) of rollovers happen on straight roads and not on ramps or curves.
- Approximately 66% of rollovers happen during the daytime rather than at night and in favourable weather conditions.
- About 9 out of 10 rollover incidents occur on dry roads.
2. Myth 2: Excessive speeding and reckless driving cause heavy vehicle rollovers
- Speeding increases the risk of rollovers, but excessive speeding contributes to less than 50% of all rollover accidents. That means that more than half the time, other factors such as driver fatigue and distraction cause heavy vehicle rollovers.
- Evasive manoeuvres cause less than 10% of rollovers.
3. Myth 3: Rollover accidents only happen to inexperienced drivers
- Around 66% of rollover accidents involve drivers who have more than 10 years driving experience.
- Most of these drivers are aged between 25 and 55.
What are the 3 main causes of rollover accidents?
So, if most rollovers are not due to poor weather and roadway conditions, excessive speed or inexperienced drivers, what can really cause them? Here are some results based on our research.
1. Human error
Human error causes more than 75 per cent of all rollovers – rollover accidents can happen even to the most experienced drivers. So, one can never be too comfortable behind the wheel, especially if driving heavy vehicles. 9 out of 10 times, the actual rollover is not the first time it happened. This means that before the accident, some other dangerous event has already occurred, such as inattention or drowsiness.
This event might have already caused the driver to ride up over a curb, drift over into a soft shoulder, leave the lane or make a turn at an intersection incorrectly. Attentive and careful driving can prevent most rollover and other road accidents.
2. Load size
More than 60% of cargo tank rollover accidents happen when they carry partial loads; this is because liquid loads cause slosh and surge effects, especially when the tank is not full. Slosh changes the tanker’s centre of gravity when liquid runs up its sides, and surge also affects the vehicles stability as liquid shifts from front to back every time the vehicle accelerates and brakes.
3. Vehicle condition
A recent study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that more than 50% of heavy vehicle rollover accidents involved defective or faulty brakes.
How can heavy vehicle rollovers be prevented?
More than 755 of rollovers are caused by driver error. Therefore, it is safe to say that heavy vehicle rollover prevention can be achieved, and here’s how:
1. Don’t be in such a hurry
Follow the speed limits and slow it down, especially when you are driving around corners or downhill.
2. Be attentive
As opposed to feeling exhausted or falling asleep while driving, staying alert can help save your life and others sharing the road with you. Pay attention to the standard work and rest hour requirements and make sure you apply them to yourself.
3. Don’t text and drive
Not only is it dangerous, but texting while driving is also illegal for truck drivers. It is one of the most common causes of distracted driving.
4. Check your truck before each trip
This makes sure it is mechanically sound and roadworthy. You don’t want to be involved in a rollover or any accident because your brakes were not working.
5. Know your vehicle
Each type has its own design and performance specifications that need some getting used to and, of course, they all handle differently. Get to know your vehicle by getting some time behind the wheel.
6. Know your load
Another heavy vehicle rollover prevention must-do is to make sure your loads are stabilised and tied down properly because a shifting load can easily cause a vehicle to roll over and crash.
7. Get trained and accredited by an expert
Driving heavy vehicles is not for everyone. It requires a special skill and hours upon hours of practice. For this, you can count on CS Transport Training to get you up to speed and accredited when it comes to driving heavy vehicles.
Learn to drive a heavy vehicle with CS Transport Training
CS Transport Training teaches drivers about loads and transportation. Our driving classes cover most trucks, including heavy combination automatic, heavy combination road range, and multi-combination automatic. We also offer heavy rigid and medium rigid truck training and assessment.