TREAT IT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER...

 
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
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Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:02 pm    Post subject: TREAT IT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER... Reply with quote

Safety Pitfalls of Towing, Medium Rigid License Required for Caravans. It would make me very unpopular, but I wonder if it would not save lives..

On my Medium Rigid License, I got a few things drilled into me that make good sense on towing caravans. There is talk about making a special requirement for Caravan Owners towing. Mind you I doubt it will happen, too big of a voting block, but I am here to tell you that it would indeed save some lives!!! The weight and speed and stopping distance with a van on the back is much the same with a heavy truck, in fact I think maybe it is not such a bad idea to increase the License requirement for towing, just for general safety. You just cannot get away with things in a truck like you might attempt with a van on the back. But when things get out of hand, is when serious problems occur.

Like your mirrors: You really should be watching your traffic behind you more than normal, like about twice as much. Many accidents are simply the impatience of someone behind you getting fed up, and passing you when they really should not have. And, that is one of the main gripes with Truckies and such, is against Caravaners for hogging the road slowing down traffic You also won't find yourself in a panic as two Road Trains Pass you. (Has happened)..

And down hills is another one. The real slow down should be before you get to the hill, not in a panic after you realize you are out of control and going too fast in the middle of the downhill run. You need to act more like a truck, and slow down before, and coast down on the engine, keeping the revs down in the safe range so you do not have to overheat your brakes. Many forget the van is on the back and start driving like they were in a passenger car. They are already going to fast before they realize it is a long hill, and sometimes get into trouble. (Has happened).

Passing distance is another issue: Just like a truck, it takes a lot longer than you think. Until you are used to it, you have to remind yourself of just how much open road you need. (This is a real problem, and once you are in trouble it is often too late to get back out of the way).

Pinching corners is something else you have to learn to handle. You have to swing wide on a turn just like a truck, as you will cut the corners as you turn and can hit something the tow vehicle cleared with ease. (Happens, even to me, and I tow more than most)

And stopping distance, a big one. You need more room, and yes some idiot will pull in front of you and force you to create room again…. Relax, do it.. And yelling at him or muttering bad words will only hurt you with the release of unhealthy affects on your own metabolism. Learn to take it easy, and not get riled up. Yes the road is full of idiots. But there is nothing you can do about it.. So learn to live with it.. Air Horns? All I get with my Mack horns vent of my frustration, is the middle finger from the Dirtbags who are too stupid to even know what they are doing wrong.

And Backing Up? You need help, or get out and look, to watch your Blind Side. I installed back up cameras, but they often won't help you on the blind side.

This is just a little reminder. Have a look at "On RoadTowing Tips for Safety" And also "Towing Tips Off-road". And be careful out there! It is the Highway that is dangerous, not the Bush!!

Just a Reminder from the Ranger
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Bushtracker
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
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Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of treating it like a professional truck driver... Here is another thing that is often overlooked:

One of the things you need to be aware of in your travels is your height in relation to structures like awnings and bridges.. I mean all of you would know your height, but it is all to easy to forget that bridge infront of you could pose a hazard. Truckies are made aware of this all the time, you see the signs yourselves on the clearances posted on the highways.. Look this is a real hazard out bush where some of you may go under low bridges like on railway lines, or awnings at Service Stations in the Outback, that are NOT posted... Stop, get out and look, if in doubt get a stick and hold it up to the roof and compare with the van, and it is not just the 2.7 metres to that top corner, you have to add on that 300 mm for your AC unit Exclamation

This has now happened too many times. I mean at least twice on awnings at small Bush Servo's and really severe damage twice going under rail lines.. I know we can be tired, or distracted, but you need to stop and get out and look at it if it is even close.. I don't mind fixing them for you, but it is a terrible incovenience and huge expense for you that you really don't need in your life.. That is why this Post, stop, look, get a stick and measure, and again: as you hold the stick up to the roof edge of the van: Remember the 300 mm more in airconditioning and other equipment up on the roof..

Sadly this one has just happened.. It cleaned off the airconditioning, wrecked solar in the process, and ripped off and demolished a very expensive Oyster Satellite automatic deploy dish as well.. Sad Besides the horror and grief the poor Owners have to endure, they now have to scramble to close in and waterproof the roof structure where the equipment tore huge gashes in the roof. Sad



My sympathies go out to the Owners, and we will do all we can to smooth their path but a major job like this can take a couple of months to get Insurace approvals, work into our schedule, and get done. This is heartache and headaches you do not need...

On the road with the Ranger, trying to look after you... Take the advice and help Wink
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strpr



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Unley Park
State:: South Australia
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an extra high UHF antenna that sits higher than the vantop. Is really quite usless and probably costs fuel due to the drag BUT it is an excellent height guage fot service station, branches and low bridges. Thats why I always screw it on.
Pete
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philth



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 4

State:: ACT
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve
I wholeheartedly agree that we must constantly "Think Big" when towing.
I drive a 8 wheeler Concrete Agitator (approx 30 tonne) and I find I have to concentrate more while towing the BT than I do driving the truck.
Thanks for a wonderful forum.
Phil
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aubs



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 244

State:: QLD
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do the same, driving trucks and as of late been driving in the scrub real scrubb carting water and grossly overloaded, to day I headed back into civilization and immediatly there was more effort needed towing the 20' BT with the canter than what I was doing in the truck. Though not as heavy but definately a lot longer and the feel of the rig was totally different.

Maybe towing lessons should be mandatory when towing above 750kg rather than having a MR endorsement. This way drivers get some training and learn what to expect and how to react to situations.
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Paul & Sharon
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Podargus



Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Coominya
State:: QLD
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Towing lessons would be a good idea combined with a mandatory licence endorsement for towing anything more than a box trailer.
But I don't see that happening. I can't speak for the other states but in Queensland it is blindingly obvious that getting even a basic car licence is far too easy.
Extensive driver training is what is needed but that costs money and the powers that be won't come to the party.
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Bushtracker
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While we are on the subject..
Here is some advice for you Men, Ladies do not take this a Chauvanistic, I may be saving your rig and even your life.. Most (not all of course) most of the Ladies do not have the same Drivers Training as we Men went through. Men, YOU need to teach your Wives these following techniques:

Case in point:
I had some people in here who lost their home, their Bushtracker. They rolled and totalled their van at about 80km per hour, never mind got a new Bushtracker, I want to reiterate and review something here of benefit for you other Owners.... This could have been avoided. They bought a second hand one from years ago, and did not benefit from our Coaching. There is an important lesson to be learned from their mishap... Exclamation

What happened was they were going down a hill with a 20' Bushtracker on the back of a Toyota and boat on top... A severe gusty wind broadsided them, and they got a sway up.... She was driving.... He yelled "Let off the accelerator!!" She was already off... But She panicked and did the exact wrong thing and hit the brakes when the van was at an angle to the tow vehicle in the sway. The van pushed the tow vehicle around and off the road and the van rolled over. This was a bad high speed one, no one hurt, not even the dogs, God Blessed that and give Thanks...

Now, what should have happened??? How could this have been averted? Here is a Tip you need to put in practice, not just the Ladies, but if you know it you need to have them practice it. First of all, they needed to know the van was loaded properly with about 10% ball weight and this may have prevented the sway on its own... But then again it can happen for other reasons like the right timing with quilting or ruts on the road or any number of outside factors.. Anyway, put your brake controller so it is in a handy place and easy to reach. When you driving and slowing up, once every few hours or so, reach down and squeeze the manual over-ride on the Brake Controller. Idea Wink First of all this will tell you the brakes are working and you will feel the van pull you up a little. Don't do this at high speed, and don't lock up the tyres, just enough to feel it pulling you up.. OK?

Now, if you do this, and mentally condition yourself to HIT THAT FIRST IN A PANIC in a sway.... It will SNAP THE VAN BACK BEHIND you in those first few seconds before you apply the vehicle brakes (gently if you have the room) and this will keep you in control... Don't slam on the brakes in a panic as that feeds the problem, if you have the room apply the caravan brakes first, then the tow vehicle brakes gently to slow down in control.. By applying the caravan brakes first: It prevents the Jack-knife situation, in snapping the van back in line so the tow vehicle brakes can take over with the van in line instead of overtaking the tow vehicle at an angle.. OK? This kind of sway might only happen to 1 in 100, but the results can be catastrophic.

Some people in the rumour chain will tell you to accelerate in a sway... While this can work, it can also get you into deeper trouble and IS NOT MY ADVICE... It can spell disaster sometimes. Using the manual over-ride of the brake controller in the sway situation is almost entirely fool proof and will work everytime. OK with this??

SAFETY WARNING AND DRIVING TECHNIQUE NUMBER 2 to teach your Wives: Again, some of you Women are B Double Licensed, I am talking to the majority that are not, and did not get that Driver Training. On my last trip out testing the Air Bag Suspension, I was actually travelling beyond a safe level by 15-20 kph, and losing steering hitting dry bulldust pans over speed. Another dangerous condition I encountered, was running up over high ridges of gravel separating the wheel tracks. In both conditions for a second or two I completely lost steering feel and was skating on the front steering tyres. Now note, if you feel EITHER OF THESE, You are travelling too fast for safety. In both conditions you would lose steering a bit for a couple of seconds, and the inexperienced will automatically oversteer trying to regain control… YOU DO NOT DO THISInstead you “Ride it out”…

Look, I am a Professional Driver and was pushing the boundary a little (read a lot). Where people come to grief in this instance, is over steering trying to regain control, but when control comes back on a firm surface again>> They are over steered and the vehicle reacts too strongly, and they get in trouble.


The thing to do is NOT react, just take your foot off the accelerator, and as you hit the new wheel tracks off the gravel ridge or the edge of the dust pan and make steering contact you are automatically back in control… Steady, steady, steady, and it is all OK… Just like if you run off onto a soft shoulder, people that have not gotten professional training just do not know the RIDE IT OUT, RIDE IT OUT, RIDE IT OUT and get back on slowly; People lacking that professional training come to grief as they over steer and when they come back off the shoulder the car LURCHES right out of control… THIS (besides excessive speed) is exactly the single largest reason people roll vehicles and vans, is this over reaction.

If you are going to take spells and have your Wife drive, you need to school and practice these two major things... Kind regards, on the frog and toad with the Ranger
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Hawari_02



Joined: 07 Jan 2014
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Location: Australia
State:: Brisbane
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is very interesting forum post. I go my truck license in QLD during my truck driving training. The school authority that I joined fro learning to drive helped me to get my license.
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