15th December 2019 The week that was.

Goodaye all. How do we explain our job to others, yet not make them concerned with all on the road? I had a big week, a few incidents and some time constraints that I managed to meet, yet could have had big impacts, had I not.
I was following a learner driver, they were doing about 85 and I was catching up in an overtaking lane. I gave a flash getting towards the end as I got close, to really ask both the learner and the teacher, would they let me pass? As I got to the back of the car at the very end of the overtaking lane, the learner still in the left hand lane and not yet moved over or indicating, at the very last second possible, they indicated and moved over into my lane.

As they had to cross a broken line, they should have given way to me and I would hope the teacher would have thought it wise to teach the learner the rules correctly and to teach common sense. Would you agree it would be better to slow early and let a truck go past on a major highway, than pull out with less than a car distance in front of a loaded b-double and then travel down the road at 80 kph for the next hundred k. Not this teacher it seems.

So being fully loaded, I could not get past till they actually turned off the road, not that far along, but again, surely better to have let me past and on my way than stuck behind when they were turning off soon anyway. How do we ever guarantee that parents teach the rules and good common sense on the road, specifically if they may know nothing about trucks themselves.
Then on my way into Melbourne at night on the Hume, me in the left lane with cars catching me in the right hand lane, a car was behind me and merging from the left. This car flashed me virtually asking why I did not just slow, but stop and let them in? Which part of the law about giving way to the traffic you are merging with, did this goose not understand? They were not the only ones with this idea this month.

The next was a truck passing me going up the Toowoomba range, me loaded, him a light semi only and as he passed, he pulled over far too early and had I not swerved to the left, would have hit me. I waited for an apology, none forthcoming, but I did not abuse him, though did consider it, to be honest.
There were other minor incidents, none dangerous or really stupid, just the usual things where car drivers expect me to let them in etc when I am at 65 tonne, just because they think I should, let alone they were meant to give way to me.

Then there were the time issues. Up on hours the night before, in a spot I am not fully aware of all rest areas and after a couple of unsuitable tries, found and used a suitable informal site for a 7 hour break, but would not suit green reflectors, as would be a problem in the wet. Leaving the next morning I was nearly at a customer and as I only had an address on my paperwork initially and not keen relying on just that, so got a phone number from the web, rang them to be told they were away, didn’t know I was coming and not only could I unload myself, but did I have the new address? When they mentioned the address, I had passed it a few k back, so then not only had to find somewhere to turn a fully loaded b-double round safely, but had to go back. That time and the longer unloading time, though all went OK there, meant I was now looking at a tight run to get loaded that afternoon.

Got there in time, lovely loading site, hot breeze lifting the curtains, blowing my corflute about and had to of course, for my safety, have long sleeves etc to make nearly certain, I could suffer complete heat stroke. Out of there, first break for the day, but instructed to take a different route. Made that just, early the next morning then off again. We had tried to get in contact with the customer to arrange a Saturday delivery, in case of delays on the road. No one replied and so I rang Friday morning to confirm a time late Friday or Saturday. Not keen on Saturday, what time can I be there this afternoon? I suggested 5.15 to 5.30 and considering I was still in Brisbane and had to detour via Toowoomba to get further south, I thought I did well ringing at 4 to confirm arrival at about 5.15. the boss had agreed to stay back for me.

Details to get in from across the street, as you would have difficulty getting a b-double in the gate off the address road and then, thank goodness, another way out as it looked like a dead end once inside. Down the road, tried three places for food, one no, next two closed, but got something and a bit left from the frig, then down the road further and to bed early. Home Saturday, to then go and get some tyres fitted for another driver, thanks Rod.

There are drivers who have done more k’s. harder loads and tighter timeslots, this is not to say it is hard, but the majority of the issues I dealt with like most other weeks but perhaps, not so invasive, were both from others and mostly outside of my control, yet I have to make it work. Had I not got unloaded Friday afternoon, I may have been expected to stay away till I could unload Monday, not bloody likely.

All we ask for is good roads, suitable and sufficient rest areas and that those we share the road with, be taught to share it with us. Not completely unreasonable, yet it seems, very difficult to achieve and believe me, harder on your own with little support. What can or will you do, to help me achieve these goals? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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