Industry Training

Trucks, Trucks And More Trucks

Truck operators – whether it be a rigid truck, an articulated truck or a body truck – are without a doubt the unsung heroes of the earthmoving game. They are integral to any project that they are utilised on.

When you’ve got a bunch of handy truckies, the material moves consistently, safely and stress free. When you don’t have switched-on truckies, those three points are flipped on the head.

The thing with trucks though, is it’s usually one of the first machines that a new to industry person starts their dirt moving career on, which can be problematic for a range of reasons including safety and productivity.

Here are five tips to becoming a better truck operator:


Some operators think that the secret to running trucks is to run them full tilt, flat to the boards, screaming eagle style everywhere – it’s not.

There is no benefit flying around like a lunatic and arriving back at the loading unit and waiting for it to finish loading the truck. Read the play a little, the trick is to arrive just in time (last pass). That way you’re not flogging the truck unnecessarily and you’re not knocking yourself around either.


Truck exchange time (or spot time) is the elapsed time from when loaded truck receives last loading pass until next truck receives its first loading pass. Working on lowering your exchange time at the loading unit and at the dump will give you the best opportunity at lowering your overall cycle times, guaranteed.

Of course, you need to be going from A to B at reasonable speed to the conditions. But at no stage should you be running the truck outside of its safe operating window.


There’s a crazy statistic in our industry that says 80 per cent of large tyres fail before they wear out! That’s a massive amount of cash and lost opportunity sent to the scrap heap. The two biggest killers to a truck tyre are impact damage and cut damage. Two items that we as operators can influence through our decision making and actions.

If there’s spillage on the haul road or floor, don’t choose to drive over it, drive around it.

Then call up to have it removed by the grader or another machine in the area. Be super mindful not to spin the tyres. Spinning the tyres is a sure-fire way to cut a tyre. Place water into the equation and I’ll guarantee that your tyres will look like Edward Scissorhands has been running his mitts over your tyres!


Don’t be one of those scoundrels who jumps in their truck in the morning, turns the two-way down, turns the stereo up, and drifts off into their own world for 10 hours. Most people get into strife when they haven’t been tuning into what’s going on around them. Whether they’ve missed a call on the two-way or they’re just not watching what’s happening around them.

It’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re across what position the digger operator wants you in when you get back to the cut.

Do they want you coming in at 45°or 90°? What’s happening at the dump? Are we paddock dumping, running to the dozer or have we changed to a new fill area? Stay present!


Trucks in our world, gross operating weight, can range from around 40 tonne on a civil job up to 600 tonne in the mining space.

An off-highway truck can lull people into a false sense of security once you overcome the sheer size of them. Generally speaking, they drive very similar to an automatic car.

What’s not the same though is their braking system. Most off-highway trucks run wet pack brakes (bathed in oil). When they’re operated in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines, they work fine. However, when they’re not and the brake oil gets excessively hot, premature failure can occur.

Another factor to consider is the surface that you’re operating on. It’s mostly going to be dirt, mud, clay or even a combination of them all – not the best surfaces to try and pull a fully loaded truck up on in a hurry.

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