Caravans being overtaken

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 14:17
ThreadID: 56590 Views:3341 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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Hi all,

OK, having had my post 56561 well received, I thought I'd push my luck with my suggestions on how to be overtaken by heavy vehicles when towing a caravan or heavy trailer. It's based on the advice of experienced truckies like Doug on here and Rod Hannifey.

We recommend using UHF 40 to contact the truck driver well before they catch up behind you, if possible. Something like "Good morning truck northbound. This is the Jayco caravan. Would you please give us a call when you're ready to pass" Almost always you'll get a good response.

Maintain your speed and a sensible road position. Don't slow down and cause the truck to loose any more momentum than it needs to. Don't try to pull too close to the left shoulder - you might drop off a rough shoulder and have to make a recovery - not what you want to do with potentially 115 T of Road Train close behind...

If you've made contact with the truck driver, he/she will sooner or later (remember they might well know this road much better than you do) call to say they are coming past.

Maintain your steady speed until the truck is FULLY onto the other side of the road. They, if you want to get the truck past you as soon as possible, you can lift off the throttle and wash off a little speed, but don't brake.

As the truck comes alongside your 'van/trailer, just 'take up the slack' with the throttle to keep your rig 'stretched' but don't accelerate. Maintain a sensible road position (not too far left).

When the last trailer has passed you, give a 2 or 3 second high-beam flash so the driver knows he's clear of you and can pull back in.

That technique has worked very well for us for several years now on normal two-lane highways. If you're on a single-width road, it's a bit harder. If the road has regular floodways, these are often wider sections. Tell the following truck driver you'll pull over at the next floodway of he/she gives you a little room to move. Otherwise ask them if they know of place coming up soon where you can get off the road safely.

Like passing oncoming truck on single lane roads, you and you rig will be better-off if you can get right off the road and let them stay on the bitumen.

I know the language on UHF 40 can be bit 'blue', especially in towns, but if you haven't tried it you might find it well worth your while to make contact with the truckies when next towing your caravan across this wide brown land.

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Reply By: Member - Jon W (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:04

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:04
Another point. If you come across a semi, road train or wide load on a dirt road be prepared for them to suggest that you pass or overtake them on the upwind side. This has been our experience many times and it is much safer. It also pays to let a truckie know if you are not going to attempt to overtake because you are nearing a turnoff.
Jon W
AnswerID: 298271

Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 07:52

Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 07:52
Proving my ignorance here...., but what is the "upwind side.."??

FollowupID: 564498

Follow Up By: Member - Jon W (QLD) - Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 16:14

Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 16:14
When there is a crosswind, it is the side from which the wind is blowing. It provides greater visibility because you are not passing or overtaking through their dust. So it may mean that you overtake them on their left or pass them by both vehicles moving to the right hand side of the road. I am not suggesting this for anything other than dirt roads. Such a move needs to be discussed over the radio well beforehand.
Jon W
FollowupID: 564553

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:14

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:14
Thanx Ian great advice
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history

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AnswerID: 298274

Reply By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:17

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:17
This is from the horses mouth, click on focus on rural drivers, then click focus on tourist, watch the clips.

It doesn't get any clearer than this.

Passing Road trains

Cheers Steve
AnswerID: 298276

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:24

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 15:24
Excellent website.

Very authentic, even to the driver being barefoot !!

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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FollowupID: 564387

Reply By: Member - Barney Rubble - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 17:29

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 17:29
Gday ian great advice mate although this sort of thing always amazes me that there is no legal requirement to learn how to tow a caravan
Anyone can simply hook up a large van to the fourby and off we go providing load capacitys are adhered to its all good apparently
oh well thanks to forums such as this for good advice eh
Cheers barn
AnswerID: 298296

Follow Up By: Mr Fawlty - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 19:30

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 19:30
Yeah Barney so right.... but then the best things in life don't require a 'test". I often wonder if there should be a test to be a "sensible pedestrian" and for every van being towed by a senile old hat wearing Volvo driving fart out there there are thousands of pedestrians who do trully stupid things that the average Van tower would never consider doing....
It's a bit like letting the elderly who have never driven a car in their lives let loose on a road with an "electroscoot", they can have full on dementia and cause total havoc on the road but there is no test to drive an electroscoot...
FollowupID: 564436

Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 08:06

Monday, Apr 14, 2008 at 08:06
Agree Barney but what do you do...? I am about to embark on the Grey Nomad trip with a new 24' Jayco and LC200...when I finally get it...probably July...who knows. Years ago I towed an 18' with a VE Valiant...not the most stable rig I can tell you and the experience left me a bit nervous about towing. I have a reasonable amount of 4wd experience and have towed a camper trailer a bit as well, so not a complete novice and I have it on good authority that the new vans, especially when towing with the TTD Tojo, will be a snack in comparison. I am going to do the "Tow Ed' course as well but need the Toyota first. Can anybody suggest anything else???
FollowupID: 564500

Reply By: Mr Fawlty - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 19:34

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 19:34
I found that best practice on those single lane 'developmental roads' was, if you have the time was to pull right off the road, stop, and let the road train have the freedom of the road....
AnswerID: 298323

Follow Up By: Ian from Thermoguard Instruments - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 20:45

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 20:45
May I call you 'Basil"?

Yes, I agree, but in undulating country you often can't see the heavy vehicle approaching until it's quite close. So, if you have a UHF, it a good idea to call them and see if you can come to a amicable arrangement on where it is best to pass before it becomes major issue.

I must say it's heartening to hear so much agreement in general.

I sincerely hope a lot of the new caravanners out here take this sort of stuff as intended - as advice to make their lives and travels simpler, safer and happier - rather than a lecture. We learnt a lot of this stuff the hard way - by experience.

A couple of sayings I like are:

"It's best to learn by experience - preferably someone else's..."


"Experience is that property you acquire just a few minutes after you need it most..."

FollowupID: 564449

Reply By: Member - Footloose - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 21:25

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 21:25
Most truckies are gentlemen of the road. I remember pulling off the side for one truck, the driver thanking me and then saying "if you think I'm wide, my mate's about 2k behind so stay where you are for a few mts "...and he was right!
Driving into the sun on long straight stretches it's often difficult to judge how big an oncoming vehicle is, and if I need to get off or I'll try the UHF frst..
Sadly I've found the cowboy element seems strangely attracted to me across this side of the beach...and boy do they give the industry a bad name !
AnswerID: 298356

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