8th May 2023. Roadtrains to Caravans.

Goodaye all, so even after four calls on the way up, still got messed around unloading in central Queensland and having started loading three trailers in Darwin Friday, that meant not enough hours to get back to Brissie, so needed a 24 hour break in Maryborough. Got in, had tea and made more plans. Up in the morning and had by then arranged for a one hour zoom session with a group looking into doing mental and physical truckie health training for supervisors and the like, went over time a bit but they said it was worthwhile.

Then after chasing TMR re them doing a Warrego Highway rest area strategy, set up another zoom meeting with them, so it was time well spent at least in that regard. Wide ranging, critical but genuine concerns raised including seeking support for the green reflectors and listing lack of shoulders where roads are “improved” and again, still a long way before it will see actual change or improvement on the road, but if they do this one right, others may follow. Glad to have had the chance to have a say, but did say we are coming from a low base and have a lot of work to catch up to where we need to be.

But without getting to Brisbane that night, would not then be in time to load Friday, had to ring and get work to pick up my southbound load, not happy as I had thought I would make it, but the 144 and 84 hour rules meant, no.

So leaving Maryborough after 6PM, into Brissie, one of the local fellows loaded me while a had a shower and tea, as then had to get to Coonamble and unload and try to be in Narromine within my 17 hour window. This last two weeks, have had to squeeze and push a bit, to make all happy and yes, I had been asked to do the talk at Narromine months before and it would normally have been easier to accommodate, but nothing is easy at times.

Had given a time window for unloading in Coonamble the day before, but sent a message, then rang another, no answer, more texts and calls “coming into town early and need to unload asap if possible”, all opened and undone before they even arrived, sorry, no phone service at home there, but unload then out and running and made it to Narromine only 3 minutes late. By then needed a kip, so check out where and when for my talk, grab a cuppa and a kip.

I was then invited to attend the dinner they were having, a garden theme and some went to great lengths with garden gnomes, bees, butterflys and moths, a bug exterminator and a bloke dressed as a bush who won with the butterfly for the best costumes. Even shouted a beer with tea by one of the vanners, then rang into On The Road Radio to talk about sharing the road with trucks and vans and my visit. Ended up chatting for a good while, got a lift back to the truck at the showgrounds and to bed.

Up this morning for my one hour session which went over a bit, then more questions and comments while many came out and looked into and over the truck. I had many say thanks and or shake my hand, most saying they have learned and now understood trucks more and even a couple who said they will have more respect for truckies. We aren’t all perfect, neither are all vanners and like truckies, I can’t get to them all. Those who came wanting to learn, are far more likely to get something from it and use it on the road.

There was close to 100 vans on site and I had maybe 70 attend and we discussed rest areas, UHF use, overtaking and much more. Some did say they recognise we are working and they are holidaying and try to give truckies a fair go. One said it was good to see the industry making the effort to speak with them and I said yes, I am. I had a few copies of Owner Driver to give away, many were going to follow up for the RV Survey and Truckies Top Tips etc on my website as I didn’t have any copies with me to give out. There are and will be, more and more vans on the road and we can try and help them understand us, we can offer advice or explain an issue on the radio, but the few who will call them up and abuse them will only ever make it harder for all. If you get abused, are you likely to listen, NO.

So will you do your bit and talk to a vanner, on the road or on the radio and will you do it in a way that makes it better or worse? Few others offers advice about sharing the road with trucks and caravans and whilst I have been involved since starting Channel 18 as the caravan channel many years ago, I simply can’t get to every caravan club meeting or rally, but will it I can fit it in with work. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod.

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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