When driving, it is important to be as alert as possible at all times. Of course, most drivers are well aware of this and will ensure they take measures to avoid distraction and keep their eyes on the road at all times. A key part of focusing on the road involves the identification of hazards, with many of us choosing to pay attention to the road itself, the conditions, and the traffic - all of which are potential sources of problems, and justify extra scrutiny.
Specific types of vehicles, however, rarely warrant extra attention; we see them as other road users, no different to another vehicle similar to our own. However, if you want to ensure maximum safety while on the road, there are three types of vehicles that are worth highlighting as hazards in and of themselves…
Plant machinery and agricultural vehicles
Being stuck behind large, slow-moving vehicles is undeniably frustrating, especially on country roads where there are few opportunities to overtake. However, these vehicles are not just slow: they’re also predominantly unwieldy, which means that they are unlikely to be able to react quickly should anything go wrong.
As a result, it’s important to give these vehicles a very wide berth - literally. Hang back, and only overtake if there is plenty of space to do so. These vehicles are heavy, slow, and difficult to move in a hurry, so it’s best for everyone involved if you steer well clear of them wherever possible.
The risks posed by trucks can be summed up very simply: they are bigger than you are. This means that in the event of a collision, your standard-size vehicle would almost certainly come off worse, and the statistics tend to back this up; you can find out more from Abels & Annes regarding just how serious truck accidents can be.
In addition to the size discrepancy, there is also the issue of mirrors. The mirrors on trucks simply do not provide a particularly good field of view; the general rule is that if you are behind the truck and you can’t see its side mirrors, then the truck can’t see you either. This means that you need to be particularly cautious when driving behind, and particularly when attempting to overtake, any truck that you encounter while on the roads.
By far the biggest threat posed by motorcycles is that they are difficult to see, which has led to public information campaigns to encourage awareness of the need to double-check for motorcycles when driving. This advice is, of course, well worth abiding by, and should help to ensure the safety of both motorcyclists, and you, while on the road. The need for extra caution when you can see a motorbike is, however, also important.
In addition, it’s useful to also be particularly cautious of motorcycles that you can already see. The simple truth is that while motorcycles can be somewhat troublesome on the road, the riders are inherently more at risk, and suffer far higher fatality rates than car drivers. As a result, it’s safer to stay as far away from them as possible - it’s by far the best choice for everyone involved.
If you can train yourself to see how and when the above three vehicle types are inherently hazardous and potentially unpredictable, then you should find that your safety on the road is further enhanced as a result.