When people first apply for a licence to drive a car or ute, they know that they will need to take lessons, learn the traffic rules and become comfortable behind the wheel. Typically, it won't take long for them to become quite familiar with the process, and driving skills may become second nature. Yet there's a great deal more to learn and much more to consider when getting behind the wheel of a large truck. The driver will need to think very carefully before they undertake a particular manoeuvre as otherwise, they could easily get into trouble. If you are thinking about upgrading to a truck licence, what do you need to know?
A Question of Scale
When a car driver encounters a series of tight corners or may need to manoeuvre carefully between two objects, they will typically proceed without too much delay. In this case, they are dealing with a relatively small vehicle and have a good line of sight in any case. A large truck driver, on the other hand, will have to carefully assess the situation before they attempt any manoeuvre and may even have to get out of the cab for a closer look.
In this situation, the driver should not make any assumptions but will need to be clear about their work ahead. In other words, they cannot assume that they will be able to proceed to the next stage of the manoeuvre if part of the road ahead is obscured by another object. They need to be clear about the outcome before they begin the process as they will want to avoid any 'Plan-B' scenario if at all possible. After all, if they proceed part of the way around the corner and find that the truck will not be able to fit through the second part of that challenge, they will need to reverse.
The act of reversing makes it even more complicated. It's relatively easy, of course, to reverse a car as it is small and manoeuvrable. However, it's impossible to conduct a three-point turn in a vehicle of this size, and as there'll be so many blindspots, it may be very difficult for the driver to reverse at all.
As a new truck driver, you should always stop and think before you enter a potentially problematic area. Work out how you will manoeuvre the vehicle and, crucially, how you will exit from the area once you have done so. If you cannot see everything from the cab, get out of the vehicle and walk through the area so that you have all the information you need to make a decision. Only then should you proceed with great care to ensure that you do not cause any damage to either the vehicle or any third-party property along the way.
Make sure that you schedule some lessons before you apply for your licence. You will be able to learn this approach and many others as you prepare for your licence upgrade.