'Get used to more trucks on the road'

TRACY MILES
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014

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A dramatic increase in the number of trucks on the roads will increase driver frustration, but people will have to learn to accommodate them, South Canterbury's road safety co-ordinator says.

Daniel Naude said he already got many complaints from motorists frustrated by the number of trucks.

The New Zealand Transport Agency issued 587 permits for 53-tonne high performance motor vehicles for Canterbury in the past year, compared with 225 in 2012 and 81 in 2011.

"It's a bit of a concern, unless people really take notice and calm down," Mr Naude said.

"If you're involved with a truck, you come off second best."

Motorists did not like being slowed down by trucks or having their view of the road blocked.

"People argue you shouldn't be frustrated but it's just human nature. It's like standing in a queue behind a giant."

To make things worse, on finally getting to a passing lane, drivers were sometimes hampered by a slow overtaker in front. At other times, trucks were trying to pass each other.

On occasion only one car got past a truck at each passing lane, he said.

"Stress levels go up, especially among male drivers. It reaches a point where they just try to push through at all costs."

Mr Naude said roads, like other facilities, had limitations.

"It's [trucks] not going to go away, we have to adapt our attitude to it.

"We can't behave the same way we've always done with lower numbers of trucks. If you feel you don't want to pass a truck, just fall back, let other people pass on the passing lanes.

"If you fall back you have better vision. It makes passing safer because you can get your speed up."

A simple strategy was to allow 15 minutes to half an hour extra for a trip, he said.

If feeling frustrated, pull over for five minutes to get out of a line of traffic and get some road space.

Truck drivers also reported their frustrations, especially when cars cut in front of them in town, and on passing lanes when it took longer to slow and stop a truck, he said.

The biggest risk to motorists with more trucks on the roads would be drivers taking more risks.

"Don't take a chance ... it's not worth it."

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- The Timaru Herald

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