Here is a safety video put out by DPTI South Australia, talking about how to handle the long steep descent into Adelaide on the South Eastern Freeway. The issue is, the set of traffic lights directly at the foot of the grade, an out of control truck arrives right in the middle of suburban traffic, and deaths have resulted from this.
It’s a long way back up the hill to the last safety ramp where runaway trucks can get off the highway safely. The descent is over seven km long and has some deceptive sections where it looks like it is levelling out, but actually continues even steeper. Truckies need to be aware of the descent and be prepared for it when they arrive at the summit, this video talks them down the grade and offers advice to the unwary.
As an older truckie, my thoughts go immediately to questioning why an operator would let a driver who didn’t have good experience and knowledge at heavy masses drive down to Adelaide on this route. Then I remember the fact some modern trucks do not even flinch at descending a grade like this at a relatively high speed.
The time when all grades needed to be approached with caution, when engine brakes were laughable and drums could over heat real quick are in the past. We have become a little blasé about descents like this, using retarders and compression brakes to enable us to get down these hills at a set speed without fuss.
The video reminds us how these descents should be treated with respect and we do need a strategy if the retardation suddenly stops working.
For something a little lighter, here is an safety video made in Queensland, asking drivers to respect the issues of outback driving. It’s good to see the cops joining in!