A Rollover Can Happen So Easily

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It is the nightmare for any truck driver out on the highway, you never quite know when it is going to happen, but a rollover can happen so easily. A driver can go along the same piece of road every day for years with no problems and then, one day, bang, the trailer topples over in the mirror.

This video is of an extreme example with an AAB quad getting a little out of place on the road, culminating in the catastrophic loss of at least two of the trailers at the back. Incidents like this do happen, but thankfully less often than in the past.

The results of these accidents are dangerous and can result in loss of life. At best, they are excessively expensive for the operator, the truck has to be recovered, the road has to be cleared and repaired, plus a new set of trailers are needed.

A video like this shows how easy it is to topple trailers, something which we expect to be stable and secure becomes a missile down the side of the road. This camera does not suggest anything is going to happen until it is way too late to do anything about it.

The truck clearly drifted too wide on a corner and it was the automatic reaction of the driver to correct the issue. On most occasions the correction would have worked and the truck would have settled back down on the road again.

One extra pull on the wheel takes its time to make its way down to the back trailer. Just a few centimetres of motion at the steering wheel is amplified by all of the articulations between truck and trailers as it travels rearwards, before picking up tonnes of trailer and flipping it onto its side.

In the past these incident happened unseen in the bush, the driver only caught on when it was too late. Now the ubiquitous video camera means we can see what happens, giving us the opportunity to train driver to be aware of exactly whats’s going on and avoiding these mistakes. Operators can examine footage and come up with on the road procedures to minimise the risk of a rollover.

VicRoads have a great program to help prevent rollovers.

Watching this simply brings home the point to me that after many years of truck driving I would have been close to a rollover many times. The only reason I was never involved in one, was not because I was a good driver, but just because I got lucky.

a rollover can happen so easily