Goodaye all, back in sunny Mackay this morning to unload tomorrow, possibly reload and do a Tuesday delivery then attend and speak at a Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Forum here on Wednesday. Then I load Thursday in Rockhampton and home. Floods tried to delay me on the way home last week, but I just beat them closing the road. We all make plans, sometimes you wonder if it is worth it, but “If you fail to Plan, you plan to fail” as the saying goes.
Floods etc are hard to plan for and it seems airline fittings letting go after getting a new air bag can be much more an issue. That fitting caused me a lot of grief, lost sleep and concern on whether I would be able to achieve all the stuff I had planned for the next week plus. I was invited to attend this forum months ago just after my shoulder surgery. As we run up here a bit, I thought, instead of losing days off and flying about (and from Dubbo it would have been at least three flights each way) I thought I would try and sort it with work in mind. Now it will still cost me and my family lost income, work will lose a bit too, but less than if I had taken the time off to attend which would have ended up three days or more and being in the middle of the week up here, possibly a full week near lost.
The federal funding for truck rest areas is a leap and a good one, but we are not only coming from such a low base, we are years behind and much has been done wrong and money wasted. I travelled out the Peak downs Highway last week, the Leichardt, Dawson, Fitzroy Development Road and Newell to get home and then the Pacific and the Bruce on the way up. Stopping Bays!!!!! Who designs, decides where they go and why are there ten in a row and then nothing for hundreds of k. Out of Hay, into Roma, north from Emerald, someone has made an effort to put them in. But without the green reflectors, the ones in Central Qld don’t exist at night and with no prior warning, aren’t much better in the day.
When the Pacific Highway was first opened from Newcastle, I lodged a complaint that the Stopping Bays there all had long black skidmarks, as trucks had tried to stop at the last minute. On the Peak Downs Highway, west of Nebo, most are at the bottom of a hill, similar on the Pacific now, but even worse, many are round corners. How can you design and build a “road safety” feature that completely ignores trucks? Some of these sites are round blind corners. A fully loaded semi, let alone a b-double, will pull out at a few kilometres an hour and take some time to accelerate, yet the highway traffic will come round the corner and find them barely moving, is that safe?
On the Bruce there are currently many worksites, yet I did not see one of them that will include a truck rest area, let alone Stopping Bays. There is no shoulder and very few safe places to pull off the road from Childers north, there are big gaps and lots of traffic and whether you hit a roo, need a pee or are simply tired and need to stop or get out and walk around the truck to get to the next formal site, good luck. There are a number of sites (and some stockpile sites too) that would suit marking with green reflectors and the couple that are marked have been there for a long time, but TMR have done little to change things since I complained well over 15 years ago when I was running up here in tankers.
Last week when I was up here, I helped another driver find his phone lost in the truck and then borrowed his bit set to fit these. Having seen them before (and you can get them powder coated as well, but as shown are $460 plus GST a set from Warwick Qld and you can phone on 0432176366. They make good use of the space and are worth the money and fit straight on.
Just for fun, old mate had been and done his washing, the small machine at the BP was not up to the task and he had to go to the laundromat, but this clothesline worked well.
Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.