We all see some crazy manoeuvres during our daily drives, but one that always astounds me is cars pulling in front of trucks on the motorway.
I failed Fifth Form School Cert science, but even I understand the basics of physics and that a greater mass will take longer to stop. So why do cars still nip across lanes in front of trucks powering along the motorway at 80km/hour?
Hey, there is a reason that truckies leave a big gap on the motorway between the front of their cabs and the vehicle ahead of them. It’s not because they are daydreaming and don’t see the gap, it’s because they need that much room in case they have to make an emergency stop.
A couple of years ago, I spent the day at Hampton Down race track, driving some of Mercedes-Benz’s commercial vehicles, including some of their 18-tonne trucks. One exercise was to reverse a truck-and-trailer set up, while another task was engaging the brand’s Telligent proximity control. It is a safety system that scans traffic up to 150 metres ahead and adjusts the speed if some idiot pulls in front of you. Well — maybe the Mercedes truck boss didn’t use the term “idiot”.
The trucks also had active brake assist, which detected the risk of a potential rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of them.
This technology is available in most modern cars, but spare a thought for truckies who face having to use it every day.
Most truck drivers have to endure long hours, big loads and spending the day on roads coping with stupid drivers. So give them the space they need.