An ever present Danger !

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 17:27
ThreadID: 97102 Views:3909 Replies:12 FollowUps:25
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G'day Folks

Could this worse case scenario happen to you?

Earlier today I witnessed a potential "Evening news headline" and the caravanner who might have made the news headlines was absolutely none the wiser to what might have unfolded.

I was driving south on the Great Northern Highway around 16kms out of my home town~Newman, with a caravanner well ahead of my vehicle and a roadtrain heading towards us in a sweeping left hand curve in the highway.

The general road conditions are quite good, but the surrounding country side is unfenced station country, I guess we were all doing the posted speed limit (100kmph) or very close to it at the time, the roadtrain obscured the caravanners vision to the immediate right but I was in a position where I could see the cattle ready to run across the highway directly behind the last trailer of the fast moving roadtrain.

Talk about a heart in mouth split second, I thought the worst case scenario was going to happen right in front of me, Divine providence maybe, but the first beast stopped on the very edge of the bitumen as did its 3 mates, the caravanner sails through the dust and dirt in the wake of the roadtrain, I was rattled and in a cold sweat and felt quite unwell for a good while after, just thinking about the "What ifs".

I took this image just last Sunday morning (22nd July) just short of the Fortescue River bridge 8ks south of Newman.

Image Could Not Be Found

I won't upload the image of the dead beast V the Commodore, because the last dead beast image made someone comment as to why?

Safe travels :
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Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:12

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:12
Good post Joe.

Makes us all aware of the ever present, yet sometimes `unseen' dangers. I think it also highlights the benefit of a good two-way. I always call up wildlife to oncoming when I see it, and thankfully to date, I've had many a truckie and other travellers do the same. Maybe it is some unwritten rule? Some genuine concern and courteousy to other roads users? Or maybe animal lovers???? Whatever the case, be it care, diligence, concern, or plain old fashiioned consideration............long may it continue.
Keep them peeled. (as Shaw Taylor used to say!!!)
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:04

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:04
G'day Phill

Sadly there is so much verbal diarrhoea on the cb radio these days with channel 40 almost unbearable at times, so I can only guess the grey nomad caravanners stay off air, oblivious to warnings of highway dangers.

As I say, the people in the vehicle towing the caravan possibly did not know the real danger, no brake lights came on before, during or after the roadtrain passing them.

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:56

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:56
I may feel like sitting on ch 40 but with my wife and grand kids in the car so often it is more than likely turned off.

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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 09:11

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 09:11
I keep the squelch up, and this still gives me enough range for oncoming pilots. We also then don't get bothered by constant static. I understand complaints about language etc. especially with kiddies on board, but I've actually not come across miss use on the road. My experience has been that the abusive language and swearing seems to mainly happen around town.

As I mentioned in one of my latest blogs, I found the two-way an essential tool and recieved a lot of offers for help from passing and approaching Truckies. Good communications between road users can only lead to safer roads. Unfortunately as with a lot of things in our society and the elements in it, the system is open to abuse and miss use.
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 09:49

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 09:49
For you it works. Me! I prefer to concentrate on my driving and talking with my wife and the kids.

We have never had any such trouble as others seem to get. For the road train/cattle thing above it would not have been an issue as we would have either stopped or slowed down before reaching the truck.

Bear with me on this;
I gather that you would just continue into the dust because you did not hear a call from the truckie saying "there was cattle back there in my dust". I think not. You would automatically, with or without a call slow down or stop. To use some of your words, there is always "ever present, yet sometimes `unseen' dangers." So where is the benefit of the radio if you do it anyway as a precaution.

Yes I know. That does not suit all situations. But then there isn't any perfect solution.

I wonder what we did before radios!!!!! Not as much traffic but still dust and cattle.

By all means go for your life but I will take a raincheck on the radio. Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 18:59

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 18:59
PJR I didn't say the radio was the be all and end all of things for road safety. Just a useful tool. When used properly it can be a useful addition to the driver and any aids.
Common sense and good driving skills would make me slow down in poor visability such as caused by dust as you mention. Besides you wouldn't be able to rely on the fact such warnings would be given, therefore it would be stupid to think that because there is no radio communication, everything is safe.
So please don't sit there and turn my post into something its not. Also I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to insinuate that I cant drive and that I have some reckless approach to road use.
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 20:00

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 20:00
I know that Phil

There is one gentleman out there who thought that I was totally wrong in not using the radio. In so far as there wasn't any other "tool" that would do. He really had a go at me for not having the radio on. That was the comment about the days before radio.

Not trying to have a go at you. I said what I said mainly for the reader who shall remain nameless. It's the vaguaries of the written word. You are unable to read my body language and I have lost the art of being precise.

Your fine mate. You are way off mark. I didn't think any such thing. Sincerly off the mark. Okay?

Have a good day..
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 20:41

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 20:41
I was just watching TV and thinking about you accusing me of "Also I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to insinuate that I cant drive and that I have some reckless approach to road use.". That is exactly why I said "Bear with me on this". I also said " I think not. You would automatically, with or without a call slow down or stop." And I even quoted some good words that you types. Namely: "ever present, yet sometimes `unseen' dangers."

This makes me mad. You obviously did not read what I wrote. Especially when I was complimenting something that you said.

Bad luck now if you think I was accusing you of bad driving. I was saying exactly the opposite. I would love to retract my apology from before. Especially the "Have a good day". And before anyone gets upset put themselves in my shoes. A compliment tossed in my face.
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 10:53

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 10:53
PJR then I shall apologise to that I have misread your intial post. It is true and I have suffered from this to, where others can't read something in the spirit or tone that it is put.
The way I read it seemed to be a little sarcastic. This is probably due to the phrasing, and where I come from, someone being sarcastic would have spoken pretty much that way.
As you, I read your reply and sat here getting niggled. I focused on the fact I felt you made it seem that I was totally relying on my radio for safe passage and had no other road skills or road sense.
I guess we all need to learn from this and remember that things can get lost in translation!!! LOL
You have to admit that there are many poisonous or pointed replies on here sometimes. Its hard not to get defensive when you feel people are having a pop at you personally and not merely being negative or having a different opinion for the topic at hand. I appreciate the different views and takes on things. That is good, that is why the form works and can accept that. We need people to have different views so as we can learn and broaden our own experiences.
So publicly if I have disappointed you I do apologise. I do hope that this won't stop you for contributing to any of my posts in future if you have any input. I just want to have good natured, honest and intelligent discussion. Otherwise like you, I'll sit here, get the hump and get a little frustrated that someone may have miss interpretted my use of language and get personal in reply. When that happens, I'd be asking myself whats the point???
Once again. Apologies. Wipe the slate clean?
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:40

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:40
Fair enough. I will bow out graceously.

Cheers
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Reply By: ExplorOz - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:17

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:17
Yes I can see how that could easily have been disasterous - thank god fate worked in their favour today. But about that photo - where we live (suburbia) we see cars wrecked by the side of the road every saturday morning - damn crazy kids...steal, hoon, crash, and dump and we live in a "good safe suburb" with no hooligans roaming the streets etc.

I still say being on the road is more dangerous that taking a dip in the ocean - even in Perth!! LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:23

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:23
G'day ExplorOz

Yes it was blink and you miss what was about to unfold, it certainly gave me a real fright and had the proverbial hit the fan, I might have been looking at real carnage.
Newman has its element of "crazy kids" in fast cars, they also have a fairly blas'e attitude to how they behave on public roads, their wheelie tyre marks are only appreciated by their empty headed mates.

I can't comment on what might be as "good safe suburb" any more, simply because Newman is becoming a town full of strangers, by the way of the resource industries love of the FI ~ FO workforce.

Safe travels :
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Reply By: Diesel 'n Dust - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:23

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:23
Lucky very lucky!

Everyone should be cautious up there as we all know cattle just roam.

Joe there was an accident recently up at Two Camel Creek but not sure what happened. I pass that stretch of the Great Northern often.

However, Yandeyarra are mustering this weekend around White Springs road ( 190km from Hedland) so please people be careful up there! And the Bea Bea Creek area is tight and I'm always cautious through there due to cattle and road trains.

Was the road train driver warning others of the cattle?

Safe travels all

Matthew
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:48

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:48
G'day Matthew

Luck was definately taking a ride with the caravanners this time.

I can't agree with you more about the roaming cattle throughout the North/West. Roadtrains don't even stop anymore when they clobber a beast at high speed, mostly because the "Burger meat" on the hoof fly's off to the side of the highway.

But light vehicle and cattle meetings always end in severe damage and personal injury.

The roadtrain driver in this near miss would not have had enough arms and hands ~ he was multi tasking (on the phone).

Safe travels :
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Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:28

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:28
Perhaps the beast didn't see the dark coloured fast moving Commodore.
Drivers don't see them either.

Not a good advert for ABS, and build strength.
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:59

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 22:59
G'day Ross M

Fast moving Commodore hitting a big beast is always going be outright ugly, going by the length of the skid marks on the highway to the impact point with the beast, I would say the driver/passenger saw the animal but it was all over in a heart beat.

I've seen the end result of a 79 series Land Cruiser/beast collision, the Cruisers bull bar ended up somewhere near the windscreen wipers.

At least this Commodore's air bags deployed.

Safe travels :
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:30

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 18:30
I just finished a 4 week 7500 km trip through NSW and Qld and the cattle gave me grey hair!!

They are breeding like crazy since the drought broke and there are so many calves and lambs running all over the place, not to mention the roo's, emu's and the bloody goats!!
They all seem to stand around the road, daytime is no respite either, just as bad as night in some areas.

I unfortunately did clean up a roo outside of Wellford NP that changed its mind at the last minute :(( not much you can do it happens so fast.

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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:10

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:10
G'day John

I guess we all need to be very switched on when we drive through what can only be described as cattle country.

Driving at night can be a dead set challenge, but as you say the good breeding cycle just makes things even more interesting with the variety of animals on the loose.
Would be a shame if you destroyed those big "Light Force" lights clobbering Skippy !!

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:42

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:42
Nah the lights were fine, the bull bar did its job, Skippy didn't look to good coming out the backend though!! :((

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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:02

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:02
Came across these crossing the road the other week. South of Alice Springs. Imagine hitting one of them! Kevin

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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:22

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:22
G'day Kris and Kev

Amazing to see the beast of burden as they once were wondering across the highway, I can only guess they settle down at night and possibly not pose a danger on the road, but as I say its only a guess.

Cattle and Roo's are insomniacs.

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:38

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:38
Hi Kris and Kev

You beat me to it with camels. They are a huge problem and have no respect for vehicles day or night. They will step right out straight in front of you, and may just stop there. We saw a big Roadstar caravan with extensive damage to the front driver's side corner. Near Alice Springs during the day a large camel came out onto the road and hit the caravan hard.

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Reply By: Thinkin - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:17

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 20:17
Hey, Joe F,

As you explained it , it's like lotto in reverse.

When your times up, that's it. Something's going to get someone sometime.

I think the image of the dead beast would have been fair enough.
Regards Alpero
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:48

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:48
G'day Alpero

Driving is definately a gamble and at times some people win and some people lose ~ this time the caravanners won the Lotto !!
Believe me, I thought long and hard about the mangled beast image, but I'm quite sure some one would have complained about me again.

Image Could Not Be Found

Safe travels :
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Reply By: equinox - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:39

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 23:39
Hi Joe,

So who's responsibility is it to control the stock on the road?

I'm well aware it would cost many hundreds of thousands if not millions to put fences up. I'm sure it is a lot easier and cheaper simply to have warning signs installed. Is that the easy way out?

If someone decided to sue for damages would it be the landowner or the Department of Main Roads who would cop it? Or both?

Fences would help solve the problem no doubt about it. It's down to money I guess.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:16

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:16
G'day Alan

I for one do not know the answer to who's responsibility stock control might be regarding stock wondering onto or across a public road/highway.

It would be impossible for the pastrolist to control or prevent stock from wandering in such vast land holdings, yes cattle are ear tagged and branded making identification relatively straight forward, but there are huge numbers of un-marked scrub cattle amongs them too.

With the ever expanding resources industry, cattle are being displaced from their marginal feed areas onto the relatively greener roadside pastures.

Warning signs are in place for the motorist as an advisory measure so the onus falls directly on the motorist, just like a posted speed limit sign, ignore it at your peril.

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 12:03

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 12:03
As far as I'm aware, in NSW, at least...the stock owner may be liable if his stock escape from a fenced area. If the area is unfenced & signs indicate stock may be
present..it is the drivers responsibility to avoid them & the owner is not liable for damage..indeed may be awarded compensation if stock are killed.

If you encounter stock on a fenced road, & signs warning of such are in place, you
may be held liable for stock losses should collision occur..provided the stock are
being tended by a drover.

I suspect your insurance will pay in either scenario, but not sure of that.
cheers.....oldbaz.
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Follow Up By: landseka - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 13:10

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 13:10
I'm not sure about other states, I would assume the same...in WA North West the roads traverse across station lands and as such fences are not requires as the same paddock is on both sides of the road. Where paddocks end or at adjoining station fences there is normally a cattle grid to stop stock straying.

When approaching these areas there are huge, un-missable signs warning that there may / will be stock crossing or at least will be near the roadway.

The onus is on the driver to drive to his/her capabilities and be prepared to take evasive action.

Do not try to take action against the landholder if you hit straying cattle. You will lose the case.

Cheers Neil
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Reply By: CarolB - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:29

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 00:29
If they now who the cattle belong to they should have to pay for damages. But if its a wild animal I believe your insurance would have to cover it. I have seen what a cow can to to a car. Totals it. Not pretty. Everyone in this car was okay, only a broken nose.
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Reply By: get outmore - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 03:37

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 03:37
what? this cant be right joe - your constantly preaching how its the mining companies that are the devil - but yet your now saying its the cockies killing all and sundry

fair dinkum would you be happier if there was no industry at all up there?
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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 06:37

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 06:37
Having a bad night/early morning are we?
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:56

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:56
G'day ~ get outmore?

I feel you have been reading between the lines regarding my original post on what was a genuine near miss, involving stray stock wandering across the Great Northern Highway in the Newman region.

No where in my text did I say anything about "the cockies killing all and sundry" nor did I imply the "cockies" have anything to do with the near miss situation I witnessed.

Toyocrusa summed you up perfectly with his one liner !!

Now as for my preaching about the mining industry and their insidious practices, there is absolutely nothing I can not substantiate regarding what I have written or what I my ever write in the future about what they do that is wrong, environmentally, ecologically and morally.

Please don't forget this ~ I worked in the industry for decades and I actually live in the Pilbara and I can see what is unfolding ~ but sadly there is "Jack shit" that be done to prevent what is so negative about an industry that is fueling the nations wealth.

Maybe you should simply do what your stage name implies and ~ get out more!

Safe travels :
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:19

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:19
If you want to see a really insidous practice maybe you need to come down from the pilbarra and check out the southwest. nearly all of it has been totally clearfelled, resulting in total habitat loss the water tables have risen poisoning ever growing large areas of land, once pristine rivers now flow saline, it really puts into perspective the tiny areas in comparrison used for mining in the pilbara which dont do .0000001% of the environmental damage caused by agriculture.

no point saying we need to eat , because like iron ore most of it gets exported
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:40

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 12:40
G'day ~ get outmore.

I will end my input to the post about the danger straying cattle and other wildlife pose to the motorist, throughout "out back Australia".

As for leaving the Pilbara to come down to the south west, it is a challenge at certain times of the year and there is nothing I enjoy more than looking at all the magnificent trees you have in the south west ~ you lucky buggers!

I guess you might see me as either a lucky bugger or a capitalist ~ because my trips down south always take me to my bush block (10 acres) west of Mount Barker. I love the peace and quiet, but I also enjoy the very different bird songs ~ unlike the miserable call of the Crow and the Corella which happen to be the now dominant bird species in Newman today.

Not a lot of peace, quiet or clean air in the Newman environs these days, there used to be vast tracts of dense Mulga Scrub where the Zebra Finches and other small bird species used to live, for the most part its all gone, but thats the way it goes these days.

I can't say much about big trees up here, had some of them too once, but now there is an Industrial Park ~ that I can look at ~ Ah yes I just love the mining boom.

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Safe Travels :
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 08:11

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 08:11
Then you will get people who ignore road closed signs and this happens. One destroyed camper trailer. Lucky for the family no one was injured, but apparently their insurance will not cover them because they ignored the closed sign, which is far enough.

AnswerID: 491752

Reply By: whisky_mac - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:03

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:03
I have recently done 6,500km through the corner country, Birdsville and on to Longreach. Just south of Mitchell I turned west and south again on a very wet red gravel road in the rain with a whole bunch of roos and emus for company. The reason I turned onto the lesser road was the road trains needed all my road and it was getting dangerous getting of onto the verge in the greasy conditions. I found 70 to 75kmh was about right, it gave the animals the chance to make up their mind and me the chance to see what they were doing. If you saw a roo with a joey, even if the joey went left and the mother right, you new that the joey was coming back right. The emus are all paired up and will mostly come back across you to be on the same side as their mate. If everyone wants to travel at the posted speed limit and not take the time to see what is happening then they will have bent cars. Did you know that the cows like to lie down on the road at night to get the warmth from the road. Park the car about 4.30pm and have a beer, food and sleep and be a live hero the next day.
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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 10:56

Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 10:56
I couldn't agree more.

It's all about driving to prevailing conditions.

My .02

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