This may sound weird, but Victoria has got something right about road rules.
I’m not talking about the helicopter-parent manner in which that state monitors the speeds travelled by road users, but the way it makes trucks stay out of the right lane on some of its highways.
This novel approach to road safety should be rolled out in other states.
In New South Wales.
Why have I got such a problem with truckies? Erm, I don’t have a problem with truckies. I think they’re great. They keep the country moving and the place would grind to a halt if we didn’t have people dedicating their lives to moving stuff from point A to point B.
But I take exception to some truckies who think that they can’t use the left two lanes on a three-lane highway. I don’t know why they think that, but there are plenty of them that do.
I live in the lower Blue Mountains west of Sydney and I travel 77 kilometres each way to and from work every day. I don’t mind the commute one bit, but I find it mind-blowing to see such a huge number of trucks and heavy vehicles taking up precious overtaking space on Sydney’s major highways.
I get that trucks have places to go, too, and often they’re moving at or above the posted speed limit.
But when I see a 40-tonne semi-trailer hauling arse at a buck-twenty in the right lane, bearing down on unsuspecting drivers and sitting about two metres from the tailgate of the car in front, it gets to me. Because I’ve been one of those unsuspecting drivers, and it’s not a pleasant place to find yourself with a rear-view mirror full of metal grille and the word HTROWNEK.
Of course lane etiquette needs to be practiced by all road users, and a lot of the time truckies wouldn’t ride the tailgates of cars if smaller vehicles in the right lane moved to where they should be. But the sheer number of trucks that’ll amble along in the middle or right lane, often below the posted speed limit, sh*ts me no end.
A system like that seen on some of Melbourne’s major arterial highways would undoubtedly ease the pain and make the roads in Sydney even safer.
The rules are plain and simple, as copied and pasted from VicRoads’ website:
“Trucks are not allowed to travel in the right hand lane on some of Victoria’s freeways.
“If there is a sign restricting trucks from driving in the right hand lane, drivers are not allowed to travel in the right hand lane of the freeway.
“These restrictions apply to vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass except for: buses; emergency vehicles; vehicles under escort by a police officer or an authorised VicRoads officer.”
I was pleased to read of a recent sting on right-lane hogs by the boys in blue on Sydney’s motorways, because I think that the old “Keep left unless overtaking” rule is one of the most underused in the book.
Cars are almost certainly more likely to break that rule just by weight of the sheer numbers of them on the road. But when trucks do it, the potential for catastrophic outcomes if something were to go wrong seems much higher.
So please – if you drive something big and heavy and very hard to stop at highway speeds, get the tr&*k out of the right lane.
Tell us what you think – should these heavy haulers be held to account, and keep the truck out of the right lane?