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Big Rigs hot topics Contributed

We can't agree how to help

WHILE truckies all are under the consensus that something needs to be done about the grey nomads, when it comes down to what exactly, their views are mixed.

Some believe a separate licence to drive a caravan is needed, whereas some think proper education would do the trick.

Vernon Deer said anyone towing a trailer should have an endorsement on their licence that allows then to tow.

"To get the endorsement they should have to attain a certificate of competency covering driving, reversing and safe loading and load restraint. With better training and education come safer road users,” he said.

But Sue Winn said a licence didn't stop the constant truck accidents or car accidents happening.

"Trucks have special licences but you still constantly see truck accidents, over height trucks going where they shouldn't, and having a special licence doesn't make them better drivers or safer, plenty of cowboys and truck drivers that shouldn't have a licence out there. It's not going to solve anything or stop it,” she said.

"Towing courses would be a great help to many.”

Shane Bills said he thought it only seemed to become an issue since caravans had started to get bigger and longer.

"Not sure if the industry is regulated to Australian safety standards as there appears to be a lot of big vans and not so big of tow vehicles on the highways these days,” he said.

"My thoughts was the tow vehicles had to be 75 per cent greater in overall weight of the trailer been towed so this would combat the trailer steering the tow vehicles.”

Bill Meiers also agreed.

"I'm 73 and have held a HC licence for 50 years. Not saying I'm an expert, but I can certainly back a trailer, and I can certainly drive with a trailer in a safe manner,” he said.

"Now I had to be tested and licenced to do that. But inexperienced people today can tow a dual axle van behind a big 4WD just on their car licence.

"I'd hate to see some of these people even drive my Rodeo with a dual axle car trailer in tow. I have three-and-a-half tonne towing gear and get close to that sometimes, but because I was taught how to tow, especially with heavy loads, I believe I am safe on the roads. And I don't sit on 80 in a 100 zone as a lot of van drivers do. Lot of food for thought here.”

Rick Anderson said one of the biggest factors was a lot of the tow vehicles are a bit light compared to the size of the van hence the need to know how to correctly control your van in an emergency.

"How to use your trailer brakes same way an articulated vehicle is set up and know not to panic in a situation as soon as that van gets the wobbles on it usually ends in tears but if you knew how to use your trailer brakes to say iron out the situation you could possibly save the day. Who cares if you can't reverse your van always someone else to lend a hand its while you're out on the highway is where the knowledge goes a long way I have given a lot of tips to a lot of people who surprisingly didn't know I think it should be made law.”

Nick Kuijs was adamant about the training and experience.

"Just because a truck driver has a ticket doesn't make him any safer these days. Experience does. Always has. It's neurological fact. Your brain can't learn from experiences by reading a book. It needs the physical actions to wire itself. That's what neuroplasticity is about.”

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