Commercial dump trucks are vehicles used for the transportation of different sorts of materials such as dirt, sand, gravel, etc. At a location, this truck then deposits the
load being carried in the bed by dumping the load usually on the ground at the rear of the truck.
Because of this particular dumping capability, it is necessary to warn anyone, from workers in the area to other vehicles, as to certain inherent dangers with the commercial dump trucks. This is accomplished by placing a graphic display in the form of a sign on the rear of the truck. Signage is the term used to describe any graphic display that intends to convey certain information to an audience.
In this article, examples of different signage that may be found on commercial dump trucks are given to explain what is encompassed in these signs. It is important to note that the specific requirements for the signs may change dependent upon the materials being carried. These warning signs are the typical ones that are posted on the rear of the truck.
This sign is the most common sign you can find on the back of commercial dump trucks. It is a warning for those following the vehicle especially when it is loaded with loose material like rocks and debris. This sign cautions the vehicle behind the truck from following too closely to the dump truck, the preferred distance usually being approximately 300 feet which is the size of an entire football field. In certain other locations, dump trucks use the sign “Do Not Tailgate” with the same precautionary meaning.
Keeping a safe distance from loaded commercial dump trucks helps prevent traffic accidents. Although it is still an ongoing debate as to where liability lies if a piece of stone/debris/material flies from a dump truck bed and damages the following vehicle’s windshield, the wisest thing to do is take the initiative upon yourself for your own safety and keep an adequate distance behind a loaded dump truck.
‘Do NOT Push’
Reading comments on a website message board about the “DO NOT PUSH” signs on the rear of commercial dump trucks indicates that most drivers are still confused as to what this sign is all about. Literally, this signs means that you don’t want to push the dump truck with a loader or other piece of heavy equipment if the dump truck is stuck on a steep slope or a muddy road. By doing so, it could cause damage to the dumping mechanism that operates the dump bed. It is imperative to pull the dump truck rather than push the rear by the dumping mechanism whenever the truck is unable to move no matter the cause.
‘Wide Right Turn’
This warning sign tells you that the truck may need to take a wide right turn. Basically, a wide right turn is a method used by a driver of a very large truck to swing out of the normal right turn lane into some of the lane to the left in order to compensate a tight right turn. This sign cautions the following vehicle not to try to pass on the right when a commercial dump truck is making a right turn since this could lead to an accident when the truck moves back into the right lane.
‘If You Can’t See My Mirrors I Can’t See You’
Frequently, this sign warns the following vehicles to avoid the commercial dump truck’s blind spots. Blind spots are areas of the road around the vehicle that cannot be seen through rear-view or side-view mirrors. Most common blind spots are the areas where the mirrors on the vehicle (as they are normally adjusted) cause another vehicle approaching from either the left or the right side to ‘disappear’ from the view of the mirrors. The only way a driver can see those vehicles is to turn to the left or right and look for them. In commercial dump trucks, this is usually not even possible due to the cab design. Although some trucks are aided with cameras or various electronic distance sensors, it would be a good practice to take extra precaution by avoiding driving in the truck’s blind spots.
Safety is always important around all vehicles and it is particularly important with commercial dump trucks. Be sure to read the signage whenever you see it posted on the rear of any vehicle and observe the warning information that is being given.