Recently there have been so many accidents involving side tipper trucks on South African highways, an experienced side tipper trucker who has only chosen to be identified by his first name, Joe, explains another reason that could be causing these crashes.
According to Joe, his revelation affects both experienced and non-experienced truck drivers hence it’s of utmost importance that all side tipper haulers take note.
“I have heard people mentioning inexperience, fatigue and unfavourable working conditions amongst reasons causing more crashes with side tipper trucks. They indeed contribute a lot to crashes amongst all road users but there is one specific factor affecting side tipper truckers only, which is unbalanced loading,” said Joe.
He says that the process involved in fixing overload at many loading points leaves the trucker at the risk of an unbalanced load which weighs more on one side of the truck than the other.
“When you are overloaded, the weighbridge operator tells you to go and offload the excess then come back onto the scale. When you offload the excess, the whole load shifts to the tipping side and does not come back when the bins are brought back to the normal position,”
“This means that you will drive over 1 000km to your destination with the load pushing to the right side of the truck. If you fail to recognize the problem and hit a curve too fast, you are bound to flip the truck, especially when curving to the left,”
“Experienced or not, a lapse of concentration while curving to the left may prove catastrophic for you because the load will drag you down and end up capsizing the truck,” Joe explained.
To explain his observation, Joe took a video after he was made to offload an excess on both of his trailers at a manganese mine in the Northern Cape. In the video, it can clearly be seen that the manganese has shifted to the driver’s side of the trailer. With the high density of the product, it will not move easily to go back to its level position.
That presents a genuine risk to the driver as the load is heavier on one side of the trailers. When he curves to the left, the centrifugal force shifts to the left presenting no balance to the vehicle causing it to flip to the right.
Unbalanced loads cause accidents to all types of vehicles but for side tipper truckers the problem is that other road users are not able to see that your load has shifted sideways hence it requires the trucker to be aware of his situation. With tautliners and flat decks, a load shift is usually evident which makes the trucker be more careful or fix it.
SA Trucker posted a video of a side tipper truck flipping sideways some time ago, by looking at the video, it can be easily attributed to an unbalanced load as Joe highlights.
In the video, the last trailer of the side tipper truck flips dragging down with it the whole combination. If you look closely, you will realise that the problem initiated with the last trailer which according to Joe’s observation may have offloaded an excess leaving the load on one side of the trailer.
Joe advised side tipper truckers to ask the loader to load less than required and then top up at the weighbridge to avoid excess.
He says the process of fixing an underload at the weighbridge was safe for truckers as it does not shift the load sideways. According to him, the loader tops up the load while the truck is on the weighbridge.
Joe’s point plus what Mhofu wrote previously about what’s causing side tipper truck crashes provides crucial information for our truckers to stay away from danger.
What do you say of Joe’s observation? Please add yours in the comments so we can help each other stay safe from accidents.
Thanx to Joe for the translation to English.