Vehicles used during auto heavy rigid vehicle training must have proof of registration, be in good condition for training and also be roadworthy. As a trainee, you may either find an automatic transmission vehicle, where the gears will change themselves according to the speed of the vehicle, or, a manual transmission, where a driver-operated clutch and movable gear lever will be present. The vehicle provided by the trainer should also be of the right configuration for the class of licence the trainee needs. Here are essential aspects you should know regarding these vehicles.

Vehicles Not Suitable for Testing

Livestock transport vehicles when carrying livestock, dangerous goods vehicles when carrying hazardous goods, special purpose vehicles (for example, forklifts, mobile cranes or tractors) that cannot sustain the normal road speed limits, over-height or over-width vehicles and federal interstate registered vehicles, are not suitable for training. The latter requires special permissions.

Testing can be done on a loaded vehicle as long as the loads are not mentioned above (hazardous or livestock). However, load restraints requirements have to be met! Remember also that heavy rigid vehicles carry various equipment. Make sure they are also appropriately restrained.

Vehicle Road Worthiness Checks

The accredited instructor/ trainers must carry out the following tests on the vehicles. Lights should be checked for fault. Lights, especially breaking lights and turn indicators or signals, will give warning to other road users preventing accidents. Not only should they be working well but they should be clean to make sure they are visible.

Closely related to lights are vehicle signs. Rear marker plates and legal 'L' plates must be fitted, clearly visible, clean and undamaged. The legal 'L' must be visible from the front and the rear of the vehicle. The horn should also be checked for proper functioning. It is a very crucial warning device.

During training or driving, the trainee and trainer will be required to use mirrors. All exterior mirrors must be clean and not have any cracks. They should also be firmly and correctly secured. Seatbelts are also crucial and should be checked for damage. It is also a legal requirement to wear seatbelts during transit.

Knowledge of Gear Changing Events

The trainer should make sure the trainee fully understand gear changing events to avoid accidents. Remember this is a heavy rigid vehicle you as a trainee are handling. When turning the vehicle at a junction or intersection, you may be required to change gears, when leaving or entering a restricted speed zone such as a school zone, you may also be required to shift gears, and, lastly, you may be required to change gears when approaching or leaving a give way or stop sign.