News reports of truck accidents and rollovers are a disturbing and daily occurrence in South Africa. It causes loss of life, damage to goods and property, and loss in man hours to name but a few.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says that many of these, and rollovers in particular, can be prevented.
One of the causes is centrifugal forces.
“Centrifugal forces play a major role. This occurs when a moving vehicle changes direction. Thus, when a truck goes around a corner the centrifugal force leans away from the direction of the curve. Think of sliding across the seat, if not wearing a seatbelt, when turning.
“As a truck has a higher centre of gravity, it is more vulnerable to the effects of centrifugal forces. When a truck changes direction, brakes violently or makes other forceful movements, it causes even greater movement of centrifugal forces away from the centre.”
Preventing a rollover is possible and drivers need to be educated about this.
“It can be as simple as knowing when to adjust speeds to particular conditions, increasing the space around your vehicle to account for the actions of other drivers and various other adjustments that substantially reduce the potential for a rollover,” says Herbert.
Some of the most common causes of rollovers are:
- Lack of maintenance which results in tyre blowouts, brake failure and defective steering mechanisms
- Speed – driving too fast for prevailing road conditions
- Distracted driving
- Incorrect cargo loading that causes uneven weight distribution
Specialised driver training is how most rollovers can be prevented and often during this training, drivers are shocked to see how easy and quickly a rollover occurs and how it could have been prevented.
“When one considers the fallout of a rollover, whether it is loss of life or the financial impact, the more important question is why drivers are not being trained to prevent rollovers?” concluded Herbert.