Beginner drivers think thrice before overtaking a truck. Just imagine a giant vehicle in front of them. Road trains, once popular in Australia, are these nasty giant vehicles consisting of very powerful trucks, or a tractor, pulling two or three trailers at a time. In Australia, they were used to transport everything from livestock to consumer goods to fuel.
What does it contain?
Each trailer has 12 tires plus a dolly with eight tires making a total of 20, except for the truck and first trailer, which has 24. So, each road train has 64 tires not including spares!!
How big is it?!
In the United States, the average truck and trailer combo is about 21.3 to 24.4 meters long, and it weighs around 40 tons. In Australia, you can attach two of these trailers to a truck, which is known as a B-double. Add a third trailer, and it’s called –you guessed it– a B-triple. But that still isn’t a road train. Those are classified as “long vehicles.”
So just imagine how big a road train is! A road train, rightly called as Australian Monster, has two or three trailers connected by converter dollies, which add a couple of extra axles to the rig. This combo can be up to 50 meters long - more than twice what we see on American roads. You can even attach a couple of extra trailers to a B-double setup with a converter dolly. This monster can be up to 53.5 meters - the maximum allowed on normal public roads. But there’s nothing to limit the length of a road train on private roads.
You know what?!
Though it is banned in Australia, a few years back, the Indian Government was planning to introduce them in India!! So it’s better to know how to play nice with road trains.
How to play nice with road trains?
If you are on a road trip with friends and find this huge monster limiting you from becoming Verstappen, then just think it’s not your day today!! No dude, don’t overtake or else you’ll be one of the pancakes we used to see in TV cartoons in our childhood!!
Here are a few driving tips to help you not end up looking like a cartoon pancake:
- Don’t ever cut off a road train. Simple physics tells you it will take for-freaking-ever for the brakes to stop so much mass.
- Don’t pass as they turn. If the road train ahead of you has its blinker on, don’t try to scoot around in the empty lane. These rigs need so much space to maneuver a turn that they’ll use everybody’s lane. Everybody’s!
- If you’re approaching a road train, you need to not only stay in your own lane, you need to stay as far left in your lane as possible. Chances are that the road train is using its entire lane – and some of yours, too.
- Don’t pass unless you can see 3 kilometers. Passing a road train 51.8 meters long, even one averaging less than 96 kilometers per hour, is going to take you a long, long, long time. I am just repeating again, before tucking into the opposite lane, make sure you can see at least 3 kilometers ahead before mashing the gas like your life depends on it.
- Don’t slow down. If you’re driving along the roads and a road train appears in your rearview mirror, don’t slow down so you can get a good look. The truck can’t slow down as quickly as you, and there you have it. You’re a pancake.
- As a matter of fact, just stop. If a road train is going to overtake you, rather than dealing with the turbulence and the dust it’s going to kick up, just pull over. Way over. If you choose to let the road train blow past you, pull way off the road and wait for the dust to settle.
Although road trains have the advantage of carrying huge amounts, I mean really huge loads at a time, is it worth it?!
I don’t have an exact answer, but I really found this monster interesting!! And if you have made it till here, I hope you did too :)
Do eat pancakes, don’t be one!