‘Caravanners aren’t perfect but neither are us truckies’

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Truckie has safety message for grey nomads
Safety campaigner Rod Hannifey passionately believes all road users have to work together

As a longstanding and well-respected road safety advocate, truckie Rod Hannifey is well aware of the occasional friction between caravanners and big rig drivers out on the highways and byways.

He readily admits that – just as not all grey nomads are perfect – neither are all truckies … but he passionately believes that it is only by all road users working together that accident numbers can be reduced.

Mr Hannifey didn’t mince his words when he used his column in truckie’s publication ‘Owner Driver’ to remind big rig drivers that they too had a responsibility to ‘do the right thing’.

“How we all behave will have an enormous impact on whether we will get vanners to respect our needs in rest areas and, perhaps, even have some empathy for us on the road,” he said. “I ask that you recognise that most of them do not understand trucks and abusing them on the radio or running them off the road will at the best make our jobs harder and at the worst could kill someone!”

And to underline his point he referenced an incident he witnessed on the Newell Highway shortly after a group of southbound vehicles – several cars, two pop-top vans, a B-double, and himself – had been stopped at the roadworks at Tap Hill.

He says the group travelled in a line until a long straight stretch of road, when the B-double went around the first van with good room and then went to overtake the second.

“I was back a bit and had initially considered trying to get past the first van, but I could see the oncoming car over the next slight crest as the B-double pulled out,” said Mr Hannifey. “I thought, ‘this does not look good’, but being further back it seemed he must be further away than I thought … not so!”

On the crest of the hill the three vehicles all ended up side by side … the truck in the middle and the cars off either side.

“The northbound car called up on 40 saying, ‘Are you trying to kill someone?’,” said Mr Hannifey. “The truckie assuming it was me, said ‘Is that you in the Aerodyne?’ to which I responded, ‘No it was the car you just ran off the road’!”

Apparently, the truck in question claimed that the van had accelerated when he had gone to go past but Mr Hannifey had overtaken the same vehicle earlier in the day and been treated with courtesy and even ‘flashed back in after his overtaking manoeuvre.

“We all understand the frustration and have been in the same position behind a slow van, but pulling out knowing you don’t have a snowflake’s chance of getting past safely will never end well,” said Mr Hannifey. “Luckily this time, no one was even injured.”

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6 Responses to ‘Caravanners aren’t perfect but neither are us truckies’

  1. I think it was Rodney King who said something like, “Why can’t we just all get along?”

  2. agree

  3. My husband has been a truckie for years, now retired. We are also grey nomads. Naturally he lets trucks past as soon as possible and safe to do so.

  4. Yes Rod, roadworks that stop you also are a cause to rekon with as you say the traffic gets backed up and all find it hard to get sorted again.
    The truck driver who is on a schedule has again lost time and may be a bit more aggressive than usual. I feel for those that have this happen due to the road works and tries to make it up. I was once abused by a stop go man when I was first at the post and several trucks lined up behind my van so I called them on the 2 way and told them to go round me as soon as they saw the go sign which they did. After they passed (there was no more traffic ) the stop go man came to my window and abused me for not going 1st even though I told him that there was 2 way communication between the heavies and myself.

  5. I’m with you Roger although I usually pull over just after the “road works over ” sign and let any other traffic pass me.

  6. I agree that we all have to be a bit courtesy to each other. Having driven trucks earlier in my life i still respect them on the road now as a grey nomad, when eveir i see one coming up behind me (and mind you i mostly travel at around 95klm p/hr whilst towing) i give them a call on ch 40 and say i will help you get thru when i can then when clear i let the truckie no i will back off for him to get around, most say thanks however there is some cowboys out there are in too much of a hurry to even say thanks! Also it should be mandatory for all vanners, truckies to have their sets turned on, yesterday we were heading south to Winton when we came across a vanner heading south doing around 75klm p/hr on good road, as he had a sign on the back saying ch40, i gave him a call to let him know i was going to pass, no response so they were either ignorant or had the radio turned off, both useless.

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