Large, heavy trucks – such as Australia’s famous roadtrains - are a common sight on outback roads. They move huge amounts of the country’s freight safely and efficiently. Sharing the road with these large vehicles requires courtesy, patience and good driving behaviour from everyone involved.
It is always better to stay behind a slower vehicle than to take an unnecessary risk. You’ll need at least one and a half kilometres to safely overtake a truck travelling at 100km/h. Probably more if you’re unfamiliar with the road.
Remember these simple steps to help you overtake safely:
Western Australia’s roads are also used to transport some of the world’s largest and heaviest loads, often to remote parts of the State. We call them OSOM loads – short for ‘Oversize Overmass’.
The routes used by these loads – some stretching thousands of kilometres - are also among the longest in the world. Their size means they have to travel much slower than normal traffic, sometimes taking a number of days to reach their remote destinations.
A typical OSOM load on the move
If you travel by road in outback WA, chances are sooner or later you’ll encounter one of these large, slow-moving loads, sometimes travelling in convoy. You will need to know how to share the road safely with them.
A Traffic Escort vehicle (left) and Pilot Vehicle (right) - if you see either on the road, be prepared to stop and obey the Pilot or Traffic Escort Officer's instructions.
OSOM loads are usually accompanied by one or more Pilot vehicles and the largest OSOM loads are also accompanied by a Traffic Escort vehicle. Their job is to warn other road users of the presence of large, slow-moving loads. Pilot vehicles are identified by their orange flashing lights and warning signage on the roof of the vehicle, and Traffic Escort vehicles are easily identified by their distinctive flashing red white and blue roof-mounted lights and warning signage. If you see a Pilot or Traffic Escort vehicle, you must prepare to:
Main Roads WA has produced a set of downloadable postcards, designed by Perth artist Hayley Welsh, which show a variety of heavy vehicles and carry useful advice for motorists.
With informative ‘Trip Tips’ on the reverse, the postcards are available free from roadhouses, Tourist Information Centres and other roadside locations throughout WA, or you can download them here:
Find out more about sharing the road safely with heavy vehicles on the following websites: