When negotiating roundabouts with a large vehicle, drivers must know about truck aprons. Watch the video.
Hi there smart drivers, Rick with Smart Drive Test talking to you today about roundabouts and truck aprons. The first time I encountered a roundabout in a big truck was in Australia in 2002. I was working to get my license back so I could become a commercial driver and unfortunately I kinda plowed into the roundabout. The examiner, fortunately at the time--because nobody was hurt and there was just a little bit of kerfuffle, and some hard braking on the part of other traffic--kind of turned a blind eye and I was successful in getting my license back in Australia.
But I will tell you that roundabouts, whether you're in a car, a light truck, or you're in a big truck, or any large vehicle is a bit of a learning curve. But roundabouts are designed for big trucks. And truck aprons are specifically for that purpose. Unfortunately engineers have designed roundabouts for such purposes, but the public education hasn't been there. People don't know about truck aprons. So what we're going to do today, I'm going to talk to you about truck aprons. We'll be right back with that information - stick around.
Hi there smart drivers, Rick with Smart Drive Test - welcome back. I'm standing here at a big industrial roundabout just south of Armstrong, B.C., Canada. Armstrong, BC is 4, four-and-a-half hours northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia in the great country of Canada. I'm talking to you today about roundabouts and truck aprons. Roundabouts, are in fact, designed for big trucks, and the way that big trucks are accommodated with their larger size and off-tracking is with truck aprons. Engineers designed truck aprons, but unfortunately the information about truck aprons has not been disseminated to the public for whatever reason.
Drivers Don't Know
There's a couple of engineering features that might cause people to be deceived and commercial drivers to be deceived about why they can't use them. The first is that it's coloured, stamped concrete. In other words, it looks red from a distance and it's also because it's stamped with a pattern that looks like a paving stone - when in fact it is actually stamped, reinforced concrete designed to hold the larger weight of big semi trucks. The second thing about truck aprons is that they are slightly elevated and the reason that they're slightly elevated is to try and keep cars and light trucks off the truck apron, and cutting off a shorter distance through the roundabout.
So there's two features that may deceive drivers, especially drivers of larger vehicles as to why in fact they can't go on the truck apron. But the truck aprons are specifically designed for large commercial vehicles and are designed to compensate for the off-tracking of the semi-trailer. Off-tracking is simply the shorter path that the trailer tires take in relation to the steer tires. They take a shorter path and therefore they're going to run up over the truck apron. You can see here in the image that there's lots of black marks on the truck apron in this industrial area where the semi-trailers have gone up over that the apron.
Slip Lanes (Turning Lanes)
The other reason for truck aprons is is they're not only found at roundabouts - they're also found at slip lanes. One of the things about turning trucks is that commercial drivers need to minimize their impediment to other traffic. And truck aprons are designed to do that at both roundabouts and at slip lanes. And you can see here behind me and I'll get you a better image of that of the slip lanes. The slip lanes also have truck aprons for when the trucks are turning, they don't have to go out into the other lane of traffic if there's multiple lanes that they're merging onto.
Thus they reduce their impediment to other traffic to try and improve traffic flow through the intersection. So slip lanes are also equipped with truck aprons to try and facilitate the movement of semi trucks through the intersection and roundabouts. So truck aprons are designed to move larger vehicles through roundabouts and minimize their impediment to other traffic.
Wisconsin in the United States of America
Now the news story that prompted this video was a story out of Wisconsin that legislators had given the right-of-way at roundabouts to semi-trucks. Now as I said in many a video, the right-of-way is never taken, the right-of-way is always given. So if truck drivers plow into an intersection knowing that they have the right-of-way... that is somewhat problematic.
Because everybody has to watch out for what they're doing - they have to give the right-of-way to other traffic. Now semi truck drivers also need to know that the roundabouts are in fact designed with truck aprons and those truck aprons are in the center to compensate for the off- tracking of the semi-trailer. And it's important that everybody look out for what they're doing. As well, when truck drivers go through roundabout it's on their "sight side" so they can look out the window and see if there are other vehicles in and around them.
As well, car drivers - make sure you give lots of room to semi trucks that are turning because these trucks have huge blind spots. And if they run into you, it's probably because they didn't see you or maybe they were looking somewhere else. It wasn't because of intent, or they were being malicious. There are incidents of road rage, but for the most part that wasn't what it was about.
So in conclusion, most roundabouts are designed with truck aprons. The truck aprons are coloured, stamp concrete and from a distance it looks like paving stones, but it's reinforced concrete designed for semi trailers to go up onto. And as well they're elevated to deter light trucks and cars from going on. So it looks a little different and some of the commercial drivers may not use them.
You'll also find truck aprons at slip lanes and it's to have larger vehicles minimize their impediment to other traffic when they're turning so that they don't have to go into the other lane. The off-tracking and the semi-trailer can simply go up over the truck apron and they can stay in that inside lane if they're merging onto a multi-lane highway as you can see here in the image.
Question for my smart drivers:
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