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Conversations in a suana
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Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:09PM
Whilst 'chilling' in the sauna after a work out - the chat usually centres around footy or what the season plans are so the the following piece made a welcome change and to me a surprising piece of information.
One of us described the latest antic of a truck driver trying to fit his 10 ft wide container truck up a 6 foot alley - because that what the sat nav told him, and the thousands of pounds worth of damage to vehicle and property it caused.
I added my comment of frequently seeing large vehicles wending their way up my road when in fact they should be one road to the north- including on one occasion a transporter with 10 cars up- and the sight of the driver trying to back into a cul de sac to turn back the way he came from.
One of us, a driving instructor, commented that none of this is necessary now because there are now 'Large vehicle' cards available now and he remarked on a friend who used such a device because he draws a caravan when on vacation.
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Posted December 21, 2011 at 5:41PM
The torch is actually shown in your link, third down, LH column.
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Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:20PM
No arguments from me on this point.
I'll have to be carefull that this doesn't turn into a grumpy old sod rant but (deep breath) here goes.
A lot of work has been done over the years to make trucks easier to drive. This has on the whole been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I could teach a 12 year old to take a 44 tonner from glasgow to london. On the other, it's what you face when you come off the motorway that is the challenge. From collecting/delivering to premesis designed for the likes of thames traders with a 13m trailer, to negotiating the legal minefields that are the domestic and international drivers hours regulations, the EU inspired working time directives for mobile workers, weight limitations, hazardous goods regulations, load security & stability, vehicle roadworthiness, and record keeping.
On top of all that comes navigation. i.e finding your way around. I will never, ever condone what some of the silly sods have done over the years in terms of bridge bashing, exceeding the weight limit for a road/bridge etc or just plain simple using a road unsuitable for goods vehicles.
However. My condemnation (and, I think, most other drivers too) is tempered with a certain amount of sympathy, for when you are working under the pressures we have to, it only takes a moment to miss a sign, or accept what the satnav tells you because stress has somewhat short circuited your criticla judgement. I'm only too well aware that there but for the grace of god go I.
The vehicles themselves are modern, comfortable, easy to drive and surprisingly quiet. Air suspended seats, cruise control, armrests, powered sunvisors, air brakes, fingertip power steering, 2 pedal 12 speed auto boxes (actually more like self shifting manuals), hill start assistance all go towards reducing the drivers mental workload. But all this comes at a price. And that is an increasing isolation of the driver from his vehicles behaviour. Older drivers still can recognise whats happening, but there are an increasing number of what I call the playstation generation taking over who accept this technology as the norm and never think to question the assumptions behind it. A good example of this is mirrors. Thanks t recent legislation trucks have a plethora of mirrors. Next time you see a newish artic, take a closer look at the mirrors on it, where they are and how many too. On the nearside, there is the regular long look mirror, the wide angle one to see is someone is hiding in the traditional 'blind spot' around the drive axle, the look straight down mirror to see your front wheel and on the front of the truck another look down one see your front. 2 dangers present themselves for the unwary or inexperienced. when you look in a mirror it takes time to process the visual image. The more mirrors you look at, the longer it takes, and you might 'see' something but not even register the fact. Also, all those mirrors combined with the 'A' pillar of the cab combine to make a heel of a big blind spot when pulling out at junctions. But because when you look over there you see something you dont always interpret it correctly. The same is also true of the drivers side mirrors, because although there are only 2, they are a lot closer so take up a larger portion of your field of view.
Damn. This has turned into a rant, in spite of what I said. I think I'll stop for now.
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Posted December 21, 2011 at 7:45PM
"This has turned into a rant"
No it hasn't.
It's turned into a very cogent and detailed explanation.
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Posted December 22, 2011 at 9:51AM
I concur with Mordwyyd - well written
I guess all the advanced technology and the legistration removing common sense from the operators can will lead to some strange [legally obliging] behaviour.
Some time ago- I emerged from ther gym to find the series of bay in which I was parked bas blocked across by a larfe box truck parked across it. I went into the gym to find the driver and his mate - to discover they were in the coffee bar- with drink and toast. I asked if they could move the druck so that I [ and by this time a few others] could exit. The response was 'Cant mate- rest period' if I move it and it is on the 'Tacho' we'll be ib trouble. They must have known such a period was due and the likely hood of inappropriate, but they did it any way. parking
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Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:05AM
Very refreshing article and observations, beats the days of wonky windscreen wipers, freezing cabs and hand cranked engines and the rather dusty driver and greasy spoon cafe or resting house :O)
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Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:31AM
In addition to WTM's playstation generation observation, these playstation generation drivers now have 450/500+ bhp which gives a fully laden truck the ability to keep up with cars, which in turn has the playstation generation drivers winding themselves up impatiently thinking their vehicle should really be a car.
In the old days you accepted the painfully slow acceleration of a laden truck, and therefore you're attitude was equally laid back, and you had much more time to think things through as there was nothing you could do about all the traffic whizzing by. You operated in a different time scale.
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Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:51AM
I had my first experience of a Sat Nav yesterday. Spent the day with my works delivery driver dropping off a few gifts to valued customers. I was quite impressed until about 10 miles from committing to a motorway driver suggested we fuel up, I said there was a station about 5 miles ahead, I was familiar with the area. Driver said the Sat Nav might find a closer one.
Sure enough, it indicated one at 1.5 miles, go on then I said but I don’t know of one that close. I then knew exactly where we were going. Turn left and you have arrived at your destination, yeah, at a fuel terminal for filling tankers!
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Posted December 23, 2011 at 11:01AM
Please don't misunderstand me regarding satnavs. I view them as an incredibly useful tool of the job, as long as they are used correctly. I still have my collection of largely obsolete maps from my tramping days that (used to) cover just about every street in the uk that the satnav replaced. The collection is so large and heavy that I am unable to lift them all in one go.
Also, I would like to offer the following as a footnote to give some idea of the stresses the job calls for:
There is a haulage company in manchester that critisises its drivers if the arrive at a collection/delivery point too early and they are made to wait because they are being under utilised. The company prefers the drivers to be late, as this means the drivers are constantly working and not idling. Drivers are actively penalised for being early and waiting as they are contracted to work a set number of hours per week and time spent waiting because they are early is deemed to be not working at the drivers discretion and so is not counted towards their weekly working total.
Personally I have doubts as to the legality of this practice, but as long as the drivers accept it however unwillingly then its not my business to interfere.
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Posted December 23, 2011 at 11:09AM
I don't think that company delivers to our site as trucks are parked up overnight outside our compound pretty much every night
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