Low Risk Truck Driving

A major section of the Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment (HVCBA) requirements is Section C, which requires Low Risk Truck Driving behaviours.

Low Risk Truck Driving involves the proactive application of skills and behaviours that can effectively reduce crash risk. Central to Low Risk Truck Driving is the concept of Crash Avoidance Space (CAS). CAS is the space required to avoid or reduce the risk of a crash occurring. As well as being created, CAS must also be maintained and protected. This is a conscious and continuous process that requires both awareness and skill.

Heavy vehicle drivers in particular need to have a good understanding of Low Risk Truck Driving and the various ways it can be applied to enhance road safety.

Whether you’re going for a Medium Rigid, a Heavy Rigid, or Heavy Combination licence, the following information will assist you to prepare for training.

Following distance (moving)

The applicant must:

  • Maintain a four (4) second gap (as a guide) behind the vehicle directly in front increasing the gap in adverse conditions.

Stopped position

The applicant must:

  • Stop in a position behind other vehicles allowing sufficient space to steer around the vehicle in front, if necessary.

Speed selection

The applicant must:

  • Select a speed that is both within the posted limit and appropriate to road and traffic conditions (which may be less than the posted limit).

Cushion to the sides

The applicant must:

  • Maintain a sufficient space to the side from parked vehicles and road side hazards.
  • Vary the position in the lane to provide a buffer from oncoming vehicles and those moving in the same direction.

Lane selection

The applicant must select a lane:

  • In compliance with road law and the prevailing traffic situation.
  • Which is the most appropriate one for the vehicle being driven, to ensure safe turns.

Speed Control

The applicant must:

  • Adjust speed to regain CAS in response to changes in road or traffic conditions and speed limits (e.g. when other vehicles cut in or when the test vehicle is in another vehicle’s blind spot).
  • Reduce speed in anticipation of the need to stop (e.g. lights ahead which have been green for some time).
  • Approach stationary or slow moving vehicles in front with caution.
  • Drive close to the posted speed limit when safe to do so.

Gap selection

The applicant must:

  • Select gaps in traffic which do not encroach on another vehicle’s CAS without slowing traffic flow.
  • Must not reject more than three opportunities to select a suitable gap.

Maintains traffic flow

The applicant must:

  • Efficiently maintain forward progress by selecting suitable speeds, lanes, and lane positions in relation to forward and adjacent traffic.
  • Be courteous to other road users.
  • Accepts the first safe gap and rejects unsafe gaps.
  • Not give way unnecessarily.

Observes road & traffic environment

The applicant must:

  • Scan continuously to the front and sides looking for hazards. Scanning needs to be performed at short, middle, and long distance ranges.
  • Monitor left and right mirrors for traffic to the sides and rear on a regular basis.

Responds to risks/hazards

The applicant must:

  • Apply low risk driving strategies by reducing speed and covering the brake when a hazard is identified. The assessor may not always be able to see whether the applicant is covering the brake in which case they should focus on speed reduction to assess this item.
  • Increase space to the sides where hazards exist (e.g. parked vehicles or oncoming traffic).
  • Adjust speed and/or position in response to limited vision of the road or traffic environment (e.g. where vision is limited due to other vehicles or objects blocking the line of sight at intersections, blind corners, and crests etc.).

Hazards are not just rare or extreme events. A hazard is any situation where there is an increased risk of crash. We urge everyone to be aware of their duty of care and to always ensure that they create, maintain, and protect Crash Avoidance Space.

The points above are assessment requirements that feature in all of our courses. If we can be of service call us anytime on 1300521289