Guide to Cross Country Trucking in Australia
Cross country trucking has many positives. You get to travel, see the great Australian landscape, and feel part of a community. However, cross country trucking can be dangerous, challenging and expensive when mistakes are made.
Presently, there is a high demand for truck drivers in Australia. Australia is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, with 1 in 5 drivers reaching retirement age. This is a result of an aging workforce and a lack of young people taking up truck driving as a career.
The trucking industry is a crucial part of the Australian economy. Due to Australia’s large landmass and dispersed population, we rely heavily on trucks to deliver freight. The demand for on-road freight services is only set to increase due to society’s growing want for instantaneous and straightforward delivery.
To give cross country truck drivers the best chance at succeeding in their journey we have provided a helpful guide to stay safe and effective on the road.
Road Safety Advice
Heavy trucks accidents accounted for 183 deaths from 162 fatal crashes in the last 12 months.
Cross country trucking takes a toll on drivers. The combination of tight deadlines, long hours and low wages mean that drivers are under a lot of pressure and as a result, may experience driver fatigue.
Fatigue is a major cause of accidents. While cross country trucking make sure you take regular breaks. Truck drivers are required to fill in their National Driver Work Diary also known as a ‘logbook’ under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The logbook must be filled out every time you have a break, outlining details like how long you stopped and where you’ve stopped.
Other ways to ensure you stay energised are to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as they can make you feel drowsy. Amenities are limited in the outback for truck drivers, so ensure you’ve prepared healthy meals. On your rest breaks, ensure you are stretching or doing some form of exercise. Basic exercises are enough to loosen your body and increase blood flow.
While cross-country trucking you are bound to come into contact with wildlife and cattle. Be extra vigilant during night driving. If anything reflects other than the posts on the side of the road, take your truck off cruise control and be ready to slow down. Avoid running over dead animal carcases as the bones can puncture tires leading to delays or worse, tragic accidents.
For more information about truck safety visit our blog Truck Safety in Western Australia.
Protect Your Cargo
While it’s important to keep yourself and others on the road safe, keeping your cargo secure is important too. Common hazards involving truck cargo include overloading and improperly secured cargo.
By protecting your loads, you will also reduce the danger to others if an accident were to happen. Each truck may be carrying different cargo so it’s important to use different methods depending on the truck and cargo.
Heavy-duty tarps are widely used in cross country trucking. Truck tarps can be used for any load as they are load resistant and can withstand the harsh Australian conditions. For curtain side trucks, Bee Jays recommend Tenacitex load restraint curtains. Not only will they keep your load safe and secure, they dramatically reduce load times. For tipper trucks carrying loose materials, protect your cargo using a roll tarp system.
Cross country trucking requires thousands of litres of fuel which can be very costly. Some easy ways to reduce fuel and reduce costs are:
Anything that disrupts the smooth flow of air over, under and around your truck will have a negative effect on fuel consumption. Air tabs are designed to reduce the fuel used by altering and controlling airflow around your truck.
Keep a Consistent Speed
As a long haul truck driver, you are likely to have tight deadlines. This may cause the temptation to speed, but it’s essential for safety and fuel use that you don’t. Keeping to the speed limit, and maintaining this speed will help to conserve fuel. Take advantage of cruise control to keep your speed consistent, but ensure you remain vigilant.
Keep Your Truck Tires Properly Inflated
Overinflated and underinflated tires can affect fuel use. Ensure you inflate your tires to the specified pressure and regularly check this throughout your journey.
Accelerating rapidly works the engine harder, leading to higher fuel consumption. When getting back on the road accelerate slowly.
Turn the Engine off When Parked
Avoid excess idling where possible. Idling trucks consume fuel, and it can quickly add up. Turn off your engine where possible to avoid wasted fuel.
Bee Jays Canvas are a leading supplier of heavy-duty tarps, which can be tailored to suit your truck’s requirements. Our high-quality custom tarps are a great option for protecting your cargo and increasing the efficiency of your cross country trucking journey. Get in touch with one of our experts to discuss your requirements today.