A loaded B-Double can weigh 40 to 50 times that of the average sedan and because of this substantial weight difference, trucks take much longer to stop than a car.
Cutting in front of trucks approaching traffic lights reduces the safety margin allowed by the truck driver to give ample room to stop and to possibly still be moving when they change. If you fill this space, you risk damage from behind. A loaded B-double can weigh up to 50 times that of your average car, and it is not physically possible to stop instantly. Some people do not seem to be aware of the energy required to move up to 64 tonnes of B-double off from a standing start and conversely the distance needed to stop one. Drivers of all large vehicles try to utilise the rolling momentum as much as possible by flowing with the traffic and holding back at lights to be still moving when they change to green. You will not save any time on your trip if hit from behind by a truck because you filled the space that the driver allowed to slow.
On the highway, many drivers seem to have the desire to be in front of a truck. Some will pull out in front of one travelling at highway speed and put themselves and their passengers at risk of being hit to save perhaps a few seconds. Worst of all is when they then only travel a few hundred metres, and they signal to turn off. Surely it is safer to wait and pull out into a larger safer space, as forcing the truck to heavily brake which inconveniences not only the driver but also the traffic following behind. As a pedestrian you would not step out in front of a bus and hope it will stop, so why take a similar risk in your car in front of a truck.
These practices only increase transport costs by higher wear of brake components and increased fuel usage to get the vehicle moving again. One instance will not change the transport cost, but when this happens across Australia hundreds of times a day, these costs are in turn passed on in higher freight charges. Transport costs in Australia are quite low considering the distance involved and the fees and taxes, particularly on fuel. The transport industry is striving to run at World’s Best Practice, and if our roads could be further improved, all road users would benefit from safer travel and a lower road toll, (something we would all like to see). So please, think before you fill the space in front of a truck at lights or on the highway and give the truck driver room to slow safely. Remember, you are only protecting yourself and your passengers.
For example, a car travelling at 100km/h takes 157 metres to stop where as a truck travelling at the same speed takes 185 metres to stop. A truck traveling at 60km/h needs 83 metres to stop. So, if you move front of them at a red light – then you’re moving into their stopping space and putting yourself at risk
For your own safety, please leave plenty of space in front of heavy vehicles approaching traffic lights or out on the highway.