Sharing the road with trucks and buses

Heavy vehicles need more room to stop and turn. They also have blind spots. Here are the rules you must follow when driving near buses and trucks.

Rules and risks

Trucks and buses are heavy vehicles. A crash involving a heavy vehicle is more likely to cause serious injury or death because of its size, weight and length.

All road users need to take extra care and be aware of heavy vehicles.

For rules and safety advice for heavy vehicles, see the Heavy Vehicle Drivers’ Handbook.

Slow down for buses with flashing lights

If you’re travelling in the same direction as a bus with a ‘40 when lights flash’ sign on the back, you must not overtake it at more than 40km/h while the lights on top are flashing.

This is because the bus is picking up or dropping off children.

Give heavy vehicles room to stop and turn

Heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses cannot stop quickly.

In traffic, bus and truck drivers try to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Do not cut in front of a truck or bus. Give them enough room to stop safely.

When a bus or truck is approaching a traffic light that’s changing to red, do not pull in front of it. It may not be able to stop in time to avoid a crash.

Room to safely turn

Heavy vehicles may need to take up more than one lane when turning at intersections and roundabouts. Make sure you give them enough room. Do not assume they can stay completely in their own lane.

Do not put your vehicle in the path of a large, heavy vehicle when it’s turning – you may be crushed.

It’s safest to stay behind and wait until the vehicle has completed the turn. There are also rules that must be obeyed.

See Overtaking for rules about overtaking long vehicles with a ‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign.

Example showing how much room you should leave for a turning vehicle
A long vehicle can use more than one lane to turn left.

Truck and bus blind spots

Due to their size and length, trucks and buses have larger blind spots than an average vehicle. This means a truck or bus driver may not be able to see your vehicle. Take care when driving next to or behind them.

Trucks and buses also have a large blind spot at the front of their vehicle. This means the driver may not always see pedestrians, bicycles or motorcycles in front of them.

Example showing of the number of blind spots when driving a truck
Blind spots in front, beside and behind a truck.

Take extra care around oversize vehicles

Oversize vehicles are longer, wider or heavier than standard trucks. They move slowly, take up more road (sometimes more than one lane) and take longer to stop.

Pilot vehicles with yellow flashing lights and an ‘Oversize load ahead’ sign may drive with an oversize vehicle. If the vehicle is unusually large, police may also escort it and direct traffic.

When approaching an oversize vehicle:

  • take care and reduce speed
  • keep to the left of the centre line
  • be prepared to move to the left side of the road, if necessary.
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