Comment: P-Bays and Rest Areas

Hey Guys,

I am a roadtrain driver (and 4WD enthusiast) and I travel around 11,000km every fortnight in a triple roadtrain transporting food and other essential supplies from Perth to towns and mines in the north-west of WA. This means I get to witness the annual migration and sometimes the debris left on the side of the road by those unfortunate enough to come to grief along the way.

The problem I have been encountering lately, of which I hope this feedback will raise awareness, is the practice of caravan and campervans setting up for the night right in the middle of the parking bay - equal distance from the entrance and exit and effectively rendering the parking bay useless to a vehicle the size of mine, especially if the parking bay was already on the small side as many in the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Murchison are.

If you observe the parking habits of most long distance truck drivers you will find they will try to park as far forward as they can in the parking bay and as far to the left as possible. This leaves the maximum amount of room free for additional vehicles ( be they roadtrains or caravans ) to pull in behind and get some sleep and it also leaves an unobstructed exit free in the "right lane" so if any vehicle wishes to leave before the one(s) in front it is not blocked in. It is a simple system that has worked for many years.

There is another issue related to a much smaller subsection of the transport industry, it is my specialty - refrigerated trailers. Refrigerated trailers run 24/7 while loaded with all the frozen peas, ice cream, milk, lettuce, apples, etc that people expect to be able to buy anywhere in Australia. If I park my noisy trailers next to you at night it's not because I'm an inconsiderate and aggressive truck driver hellbent on ruining your nights sleep.

Consider this: truck drivers hours are regulated by law - when our hours have run out for the day we must pull over or face prosecution (some think it's closer to persecution but I won't go into that). I'm sorry if it happens to be your parking bay I take my mandated rest break in. Everyone will be a lot sorrier if I continued driving and fell asleep at the wheel.

Also, triple roadtrains are bloody big! There are limited places we can safely pull off the road for our rest breaks. Parking bays just happen to be ideal for the task, especially after significant rainfall - no driver in their right mind would pull off the road into anything less than a bitumen or heavily compacted gravel area (parking bay). To do otherwise usually results in immediately becoming bogged with, considering the size and weight involved, limited means of recovery.

So please keep these points in mind next time you are looking to pull up for the night or even just stopping to make a sandwich. If you are the sole occupant of a parking bay the chances are somebody will pull in behind pretty soon - are you positioned to give them easy access? I am happy to share parking bays with all road users but everyone has to apply a bit of common sense and consideration. I will always try to minimise the impact running fridge motors may have on anyone I'm sharing a parking bay with. Parking nose to tail with other vehicles instead of side by side is an effective way of do this - park in front of me and you are a minimum of 20ft from my lead fridge motor, park behind me and you are at least 45ft from my third fridge motor. Park beside me or force me to park beside you and you might be as little as 5ft from it. I've gotten used to the noise, in fact, I find the constantly running fridge actually masks other irregular noises which would normally wake me. Such as irate campers yelling at me to shut it off ;)

I know there are people out there who are just not right in the head and certain concepts never seem to take hold. On behalf of all the sensible truck drivers I apologise in advance for the actions of the, thankfully, few truly stupid individuals that may at some point in their life write "Truck Driver" on their tax return.
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Reply By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:21

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:21
A well put position. I will certainly take note.
Ross
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Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:21

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:21
Good and informative post, I learned a bit about sharing rest areas with refrigerated trailers.
AnswerID: 538668

Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:43

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:43
Well said twocrowsdown, let's hope many people read this post, and take heed next time they want to have the parking bay to themselves ,some parking bays are only for trucks and some do not allow trucks ,only light vehicles etc and are signposted ,so if they happen to use a truck bay and a triple pulls in with 3 refrigerated trailers going all night do not complain ,again well put into words .
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Reply By: OBJ - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:53

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 19:53
Nicely put. I don't use truck bays, but fully appreciate your points. Should I need to do so in the future I will very happily follow your advice. Travel safely.
OBJ
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Reply By: Member - Outback Gazz - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:04

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:04
Good post mate

And passively written considering your circumstances !!

Problem is - the inconsiderate people who do the wrong thing won't read this because they are not registered on this site and the people / members who are, already do the right thing !


Happy and safe travelling

Gazz
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:22

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:22
Twocrowsdown,

Good post mate.
I wasn't aware caravans, etc. were even allowed to set up camp in a truck parking bay.

On our recent trip from Adelaide to the Kimberley and return I noticed separate parking bays for trucks vs vehicles (with or without vans, etc.) Each was signposted as either for Trucks (Truck Parking Bay) or vehicles (Parking Bay) I understood this to be "the norm".
Personally, we didn't even consider pulling up and parking alongside other campers, vans, motorhomes, etc. in the "normal" vehicle parking bays. Could not think of anything worse in fact. We drove on until we arrived at our planned destinations along our route, usually a caravan park or campground in a town along the way, or a remote area "off the beaten track".

You have raised valid points but I would expect the average person, electing to set up camp in one of these "parking Bays", especially the Truck ones, think they have a right to a peaceful overnight camp and would not even think of the issues you have identified, but be the first to complain when their peace is compromised, even though they have elected to free camp in an area not really suitable for camping at all.

Keep on trucking on!

Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Reply By: Member - Trev K - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:59

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 20:59
Good on ya twocrowsdown,
Thanks for putting the point about the need for truckies to take regular rest breaks as a point of law. As you say truckers are required by law to rest at regular intervals and must carry log books to prove they have done so. In New South Wales there are "Safety Cam Sites", to ensure drivers of heavy vehicles do not exceed speed limits or their fatigue limits.
These rules do not as yet apply to other drivers and many will curse the day this is applied, however if fatigue related incidents continue to occur, then we may well see this crop up as a new road safety measure.
So to all travellers, please respect the needs of our truckers to rest when required, regardless of weather their rig has a series of frig motors going. After all the fresh food you buy at the next outback town may just have been delivered by that noisy truck that parked in "Your?" parking area last night. And remember that fatigue happens to us all, so rest often, be vigilant, keep alert, travel safely and be tolerant of all others on the road and at the rest areas.
Trev K.

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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:05

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:05
Trev, not sure if you're in NSW, but on a drive back to Adelaide from Brisvegas last year, I saw that the point to point truck cameras are used as speed cameras for all drivers too (most likely rego checks etc as well).
Here in SA there are more and more of these going up, with a couple already operating, one on the Dukes Hwy, and one on the Pt Wakefield Rd.

Yes, will be a big move if ever they bring in such a log book thing for all drivers.
Fatigue is a huge factor in country accidents and stats, my guess is higher than speed alone, but it will be a brave govco that tries to introduce that.

Still, every now and then, we see new legislation brought in to cope with the lowest denominator of our society, the ones that have driving skills well below average capabilities, can't resist excessive speed, don't know when to stop drinking, or indeed on day if could be for those that don't know when to pull over for a bit of a nap / break.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:21

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:21
NSW Safety Cam Cameras are Trucks only
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:25

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:25
Les, I'm pretty sure the point to point truck safety cams and the point to point average speed cameras are separate animals. I don't think there are speed cameras in the truck cams because in NSW they have to give notice of speed cameras, there are no secret ones like some other states like to do. The truck cams don't have the warning notice for speed cameras.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:50

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 09:50
Ta fellas, good to know.

Sorry to take it a little off topic, but the log book thing got me thinking about other aspects.

I'm all for cutting down on excessive speed, but feel occasional small indiscretions aren't as big an issue as govco makes out, moreso factors like fatigue, inattention, IMPATIENCE, plain pig headed lack of respect for road marking lines (double lines etc), lack of courtesy, and of course drink, drugs, and excessive speed are in the mix.

Sadly common sense is not so common that govco are (or at least say they are) left with little choice in arbitrary regulations.
That lack of common sense / courtesy in others is likely the main problem with parking bay manners / respect for others too.
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:11

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:11
The point-to-point cameras are - at this stage - only for heavy vehicles, but the provision exists for them to be "upgraded" to register all vehicles.
NSW government can easily do that
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:36

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:36
Heard that but have never seen it officially stated. In other jurisdiction they apply to all vehicles.
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Follow Up By: Freshstart - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 09:49

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 09:49
I heard the same Garry but tend to stay withing the limits just in case they are for everyone.

On single lane highways like the Hay Plains I usually stick a few K's below the limit, thus allowing me to go "over" when passing.
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Reply By: mikehzz - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 10:14

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 10:14
This certainly was a well presented and very logical post that must surely be helpful to those that don't give enough thought to their actions. No spelling errors either...:-) Hey Twocrowsdown, you're sort of like the Ernest Hemingway of truck drivers for writing that. Cheers.
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 10:47

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 10:47
An excellent post very well presented - well done.

John
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Reply By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 15:20

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 15:20
Strictly speaking in WA, you are not allowed to camp overnight in a rest area not designated and signed as 24 hrs. This from the Main Roads Department

"Roadside Amenities and Rest Areas Brochure
The following guide lists the rest areas and facilities we've made available, to enable you to take a short break from driving and help reduce your fatigue. Remember, rest areas are not intended for camping. Overnight stays are only permitted where you see the '24' symbol."

Meanwhile, you are expected to rest up if feeling fatigued…….. or travel to a caravan park or designated "24" rest area. It's a big state, and not always practical. I have become pretty good at spotting gravel pits and metal dumps. As stated so by Twocrowsdown, common sense should prevail.

https://www.mainroads.wa.gov.au/usingroads/touringwamaps/pages/restareas.aspx#.VAsHZCjA420

cheers
Laurie
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 17:30

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 17:30
Hi Twocrowsdown,

A well put, intelligent and informative way to get across a message. Top marks to you.

All the points you make seem, to me anyway, very logical and I cannot understand anybody who does not consider these where they have to share a rest area with trucks for the night, whether or not there are any trucks parked there when they pull in to said rest area. Some time during the night some will pull in anyway, given the laws of averages.

As I say to many caravanners I encounter, I am on holidays, you blokes are out there battling with deadlines, bosses, customers and last but by no means least, the law.
It is a tough gig and I doubt I would do it given the pressures you guys are under.

You have my full support.

The other thing most caravanners should do is to have a UHF radio and be on the truck channel and communicate with the truckies to assist them in overtaking manoeuvres when the caravanners are holding up the trucks.

As I said, it all seems like common sense to me, but then common sense is not all that thick on the ground. Or in other words, it aint all that common.

Cheers mate and all the best,
Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - johnat - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:20

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:20
Thanks, twocrowsdown, for that explanation.
Unfortunate that the people who most desperately NEEd that info will not be reading this. Perhaps you need to submit to a couple of local radio stations for them to spread the word. Or, perhaps a show like A Current Affair (or similar) would like to do a segment.
Seriously, what you have said should be spread about as widely as possible, so that everyone gets to hear about it.
Question for you, would you consider sending it to a couple of the state based motoring organisations (like the NSW based NRMA, RACQ, RACQ etc)? I'm sure they'd appreciate the input from a professional driver.
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:57

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:57
Most drivers don't like trucks or truckies,
That's why Current Affair gets more ratings sensationalising & bagging trucks and their drivers and aren't interested in trying to help with the problems.
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Reply By: Twocrowsdown - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 21:31

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 21:31
Thanks for all the positive feedback - genuinely surprised by the number of people agreeing with me. Maybe I am preaching to the choir.
I would like to see the uproar if Main Roads tried to enforce the law one user mentioned regarding signposted 24hr Rest Areas - I can't recall passing one of them on my way up to Telfer this trip!
Also, all the rest areas/parking bays I frequent are considered open to any road user. I can understand the need for segregation in the higher traffic areas such as the eastern states and other densely populated areas but out here in the red dust of the WA Northwest it's generally a bit more laid back.
Another user mentioned using gravel pits and blue metal dumps as campsites and I have to agree - they can make ideal locations with a degree of privacy and I have a few of my favourites programmed into my GPS.
I will give some thought to the suggestion of "spreading" the article around and hopefully reaching a larger audience. In fact, if anybody here would like to do so I have no objections.
Finally, thankyou for your compliments on the job I made of presenting my thoughts. I'm sure my old English teacher would be somewhat less disappointed in me now if she ever read this.
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 22:07

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 22:07
If using a gravel pit or blue metal dump don't get upset if one of these turn up about 2 or 3 in the morning And light up the burners.



Cause they could be working out of there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 21:26

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 21:26
Obviously if a pit or dump looks like it is being worked from, you park well away from the working area …. same rules really ……. and if they come to camp, then hey, plenty of room for all. :-)

cheers
Laurie
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Follow Up By: hixy and ranga - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:14

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:14
nice tanker . god damn ugly truck
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:29

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:29
Show us what you own
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Follow Up By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 23:32

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 23:32
Just for interest sake, I copied and pasted this to my Facebook Page, and apparently reached over 6600 people. It was shared 58 times. It was shared 3 times from my personal FB Page, but I don't have figures for how many people saw it there.

I am sure that other forum users have done the same thing.

I think your message is out there. Well done sir.

Cheers
Laurie
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Follow Up By: Twocrowsdown - Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 08:16

Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 08:16
Nice one Laurie, thanks for that. Everyone else - I don't know if I can add much to my original post so if you agree with it feel free to share it anywhere you think it might do some good. Cheers.
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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 02:13

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 02:13
As an old retired truckie I will say you have written the most perfect post , I know your concerns, been there, done that. thanks mate and keep it safe .

Yep those Bitumen tankers can be a little noisy but the drivers also have regulations to abide by.


.
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Reply By: Slow one - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 06:28

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 06:28
Twocrowsdown,

Thanks for bringing attention to a growing problem and here is a photo of one the problems.

These vanners would just have been unaware of what they had done.

Van parking

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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:47

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:47
Slow one,
That's the BP at Clybucca just north of Kempsey.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:54

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 10:54
Thanks Slow.

I like the photo further down in that Facebook page, at Camooweal.

Both 'vanners very obviously in holiday mode, as where they're parked, they're right across some of the marked parking lanes for road trains.

Wonder if they got told? :-)

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 15:47

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 15:47
Bob,
I think many of the vanners at Camooweal look to the side of the roadhouse and think look there is a big parking paddock over there just for me and off they go into Austral St. bypassing the heavy vehicle parking signs.

I have never encounter the same problem at Barkly Homestead.
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Reply By: Ozrover - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 09:04

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 09:04
Hey Bloke,

I hope that you don't mind but I also think that this message needs to be spread around, so I have posted a copy to my Facebook timeline, if a large percentage of ExOz members do the same then, their friends repost it, It could conceivably cover the country.

Goodonya...
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 11:22

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 11:22
Thanks for highlighting an often frustrating problem in a concise manner, Twocrowsdown. Bit hard to squeeze 50M into a 32M space, eh!

Until recently, I was running up and down the Landsborough and Barkly Highways, and found most of the 'vanners to be well educated in their evening parking habits. No doubt some of them would have had a touch of what I call "heated mentoring" early in their trip, by a diesel eater less diplomatic than yourself.

One parking bay I used to frequent, on busy nights, would have 'vans, campers & campers vans parked down both sides. Usually enough room to pull a quad(think you blokes call 'em 3 'n a halfs?) in there, and maybe a second one behind, but bad luck for any bloke coming from the other way, and looking for a break.

Gravel pads are a good alternative, and as it hasn't rained in Qld for 2 years, a secure spot for the night, or just a break.

Am sure the old English teacher would be proud of you, and probably want you to sit up the front in future. :-)

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 17:59

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 17:59
And just to extend the topic a little ....

What about the bleepwit car drivers who park in long vehicle bays at service centres and rest stops, leaving nowhere for caravans and CTs, often - in fact usually - when there are empty car spots available but an extra 10m walk from the door or dunny.
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Follow Up By: hixy and ranga - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:08

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:08
yep Frank it is nearly as bad as when the likes of you fill up truck bays because of the likes of you
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:20

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:20
bleepwit....................
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Reply By: hixy and ranga - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:03

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 22:03
stone the bloody crows twocrowsdown . my favorite gripe is bicky dippers hogging parking bays . in fact i actually got thrown off this site because of my comment on your same comment . the same bicky dipers that set up and turn a three truck parking bay into a bicky dipper in the the middle of the site no trucks can fit site , are most likely the ones that sit thier van rite on the centre line so you carnt see past them .
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Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 10:48

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 10:48
Don't stop there, how about the ones who pull out from highway parking bays in front of oncoming traffic "oh there's nothing coming the other direction, he can go around me"

Bollocks, wait until the way is clear and then pull out. You're obviously not in a hurry and the highway is hardly bumper to bumper

The other thing that shat me to tears when up north recently is these muppets (not towing, I can understand it if you're towing) that want to come to almost a complete stop to pull off the highway into a parking bay or rest area

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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 09:42

Monday, Sep 08, 2014 at 09:42
Thank you for an excellent post. I have noted your comments and reckon the world is a better place with such a logical explanation!

Kind regards
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Reply By: Strawman - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 08:47

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 08:47
This is such a well written and logical explanation that it is impossible for a reader not to empathise and want to "do the right thing", in my humble opinion. Picking up on an earlier suggestion about spreading the message, I wonder whether forwarding it as a letter to the editor of the prominent caravan, camper trailer & 4WD magazines would help. Thanks Twocrowsdown, and others who have supported.
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Reply By: BassetBruce - Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 09:35

Friday, Sep 12, 2014 at 09:35
Well put without blaming .Very informative and a reminder that a bit of thought and courtesy and everybody wins.
Many Thanks
Alan
AnswerID: 539005

Reply By: Member - mike g2 - Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 09:07

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 at 09:07
Hi twocrowsdown- best bit of comment I've seen, useful, informative and too true. hope the yahoos take note. you have my respects as a responsible truckie trying to earn a living and i know its not an easy life out on the roads up front of a B double or train. for other readers there's a lot of truck traffic on WA roads mining and general transport related going to or in NW as we all know . I was surprised on last trip to PHedland talking to people to be encouraged to take up trucking( local ) due to high demand and good $ for drivers. Govt ideas to close some country rail for wheat and truck it instead will add to traffic. thanks.
MG.
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Reply By: Member - Ken&Rob - Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 at 08:02

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 at 08:02
Hey twocrows down that is an informative brilliant article and I support you as a caravan tower yet I feel you willnot get through to the number of selfish dropkicks on the road
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