A local truck driver has shared some insight into the challenges that truck drivers face on local roads.
As part of raising awareness for Survive the Drive – a Fairfax-backed campaign targeted at lowering the disproportionate amount of country lives lost in NSW – Sutcliffe Transport’s Barry Sutcliffe addresses some of the misunderstandings surrounding trucks .
“There is plenty of dangerous things going on out on the roads at the moment,” Mr Sutcliffe said.
“There is a lot of aggression and a lack of patience on the road, and a lot of it is born out of frustration and impatience.”
“We have to drive a truck differently than car drivers drive cars,” he said.
“A good truck driver is driving 100 metres ahead of himself, and a good truck driver is always leaving enough room to be able to evaluate what’s going to happen next.
“That tends to be where misunderstandings and accidents occur because other drivers don’t appreciate that trucks take longer to stop and longer to gather momentum.”
Having started carrying livestock in the Gunnedah region in 1980, Mr Sutcliffe said his trade had changed considerably over the years.
“Trucks have certainly become a lot safer,” he said.
“In the early days of double decker trucks I used to have to nearly stand on my tip-toes to be able to see my bottom deck in my mirror.
“Now the designs are a lot better and you can see everything in your mirror a lot better. The breaking systems are so much better now and the stability is so much better. As well as that now with EBS and air breaks you are able to pull up when you need to.”
Mr Sutcliffe said the changing livestock industry demands truck drivers travel longer distances than when he first started driving.
“We do a lot more big kilometres now,” he said.
“We are still a local carrier, but the way stock is sold now, the work is actually spread out and most of the stock go to feed lots and most of them are in Queensland.”