Passenger ride in a Tata Ace mini-truck: Observations & lessons learnt

As there is no bonnet, whenever another vehicle, a pedestrian or a biker comes close, they will be right in front of us.

BHPian chaitanyakrish recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello BHPians,

I had to get some cupboards transported from a carpenter shop to my home yesterday.

To experience how does it feel like inside a mini truck, I requested the carpenter to allow me to sit in the truck along with him.

Similar observations can be made while driving a lorry/bus/van etc as they all are of similar design with a different size.

Here are a few observations from my side, which will help to understand the limitations of these vehicles:

  1. ORVMs are small which gives a very narrow field of view. And the driver is mostly using the right side ORVM and he completely closed the left one.
  2. IRVM is not usable as there's a container attached to the truck in the rear, which blocks the view.
  3. As there is no bonnet, whenever another vehicle, a pedestrian or a biker comes close, they will be right in front of us. This gave me jitters as I'm used to seeing other vehicles at least with a gap in the bonnet length of the car.
  4. As there's no bonnet, whenever the truck had to take a turn, he used to go almost till the end of the lane and turn.
  5. Seat belts are available but they're in unusable condition.
  6. Rear door is kept open as one of his assistants is sitting in the rear container. The rear door swung open when the driver had to apply brakes due to a biker.

Lessons Learnt:

  1. Drivers are mostly using right side ORVM, so drive carefully while on their left side.
  2. Rear view is completely blocked, so never tailgate so closely as they cannot see us and we never know when they would brake (hopefully brake lights are functional)
  3. As there is no bonnet, they can come very close while taking a turn or stopping at signals or tailgating us. So, be watchful of them, in case of faulty brakes, they can easily hit.
  4. Rear door can swing open any time, need to be watchful. One hit can knock a biker off and cause severe damage.
  5. As they don't have bonnets, whenever they're making a turn, they liberally occupy the opposite lanes. I used to observe this, when I am driving a car and when they approach me from the opposite side.

Please share your views.

Here's what BHPian VALLABHA had to say on the matter:

Very well written. Excellent observations made and points covered.

I think it's not merely the absence of a bonnet. The wide turns a truck driver makes are to accommodate the path between the front wheels and rear wheels. The longer the truck, the wider the turns, the truck drivers ought to make.

Here's what BHPian condor had to say on the matter:

Have the experience of driving a pickup truck with a box at the back, and have seen this first hand. This lack of rear view is a problem for drivers who use them - especially when you want to turn.

But then even in a mild emergency where one has to brake, how many drivers see the rearview mirror before applying brakes?

That turning space is why one should Never Ever pass another vehicle on the inside of a turn - don't be on the left of a vehicle turning left, and similarly not to be on the right of a vehicle turning right. A very very basic knowledge that most people miss.

Speaking of getting a vantage point, try driving a 13-seater Force Cruiser/Toofan in Bangalore traffic - places like JC road and such. Again, first-hand experience, that too in one which didn't have power steering. Btw, a tractor with a trailer is pending for me and will do it sometime.

Here's what BHPian UD17 had to say on the matter:

I have driven extensively the 1Ton ACE during its testing phase. Your observations are quite good and relevant. Thanks for that.

The biggest gripe I was having is with the 2-cylinder. ace which is plenty on the roads. They have pathetic pick-up under load (or say overload). It is always a pain to see so many ACEs on the roads, zipping, squeezing, blocking the way but not moving with the pace. So much wastage of fuel (+long queue) during that movement on narrow city roads.

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