When you’re driving your hire car in Australia’s outback, you may come across an interesting and unique sight.

Road trains are as much a part of the classic Down Under road-trip experience as red dust, kangaroos and flat horizons. However, they can be quite a shock for the uninitiated driver.

Australia is home to the longest and heaviest legal road trains in the world, which is why they have become so famous. Made up of three or more trailers, road trains can be over 50 metres in length and weigh up to 146 tonnes.

That’s an impressive and intimidating bulk to meet on the road.

Road trains are a crucial part of industry in Australia, with hauling trips between cities, mines and ports cut down dramatically, the more stock that can be hauled in one go the better.

So, with these looming truck and trailer combos awaiting you on the outback roads, what do you need to know about navigating road trains in your car rental?

Sharing the tarmac with a road train

There are a few important rules you need to remember if you come across a road train when driving through Australia. These include:

Give them space – road trains require a lot of room, so keep left when they pass and be mindful of their turning circle when approaching intersections or corners.
Keep your distance – the length of a road train may make it more difficult for the driver to see you, so don’t follow too close. Back up until you are sure you can stop in time in an emergency.
Don’t cut in – these massive movers have a lot of weight in them, so their stopping distance and speed are increased. Cutting in is dangerous due to the room they need to stop or even just slow down.
Check the road ahead – If you plan to overtake a road train, make sure you have plenty of empty road to complete the manoeuvre. You may be surprised with how long it can take to pass the many, many trailers.

By following these rules, you can safely share the road with these monster movers and get to your destination in one piece.

Got more questions? Contact the friendly team at Thrifty for some expert tips.