Truck driver Rod Hannifey has called on motorists to do their bit to make the roads safer in 2019.
The prominent road safety advocate and Churchill Fellow has issued his top tips for safer roads in light of increased traffic on the roads over the holiday period.
“Number 1: Drive like the people in every other car around you are your own family members, young and old,” he said.
“Number 2: As above, but know how they drive!
“Number 3: Treat all others as you would like to be treated. Problem solved! No aggression, no recklessness and no stupidity.”
Mr Hannifey, of Dubbo, spent the lead-up to Christmas driving his TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle from Dubbo to Swan Hill, Melbourne, Bundaberg, Brisbane and Newcastle before returning home.
Returning to work on Thursday after a well-earned break, he said the roads were thankfully quiet this time of year.
But that would soon change as people headed home after Christmas, or off on summer holidays.
Mr Hannifey urged all motorists to be respectful and understanding of one another.
“Nearly every truckie I know goes to work with one thing on their mind; to get home safely to see a family they see too little of,” Mr Hannifey said.
“And some of them wouldn’t have got home [this Christmas]. Some of them would have still been on the road.
“It does put that little bit more pressure on you that you’re not [home], you were delivering a load that someone else needs.
“All that we ask is they recognise us and give us a bit of a fair go.”
Mr Hannifey has long been an advocate for more and improved truck stops, with social media helping to raise awareness of the challenges posed by other road users.
One recent post shows caravans parked at a truck stop, leaving no room for truck drivers’ scheduled, legally-mandated rest stops.
Mr Hannifey said he hadn’t personally encountered the issue, but had advocated on behalf of truck drivers who had been forced to delay their rest breaks after finding truck only bays full of caravans.
He urged caravan users to think of trucks when they accessed rest bays by not taking up truck only bays, and not taking up more room than was necessary in their comparatively smaller vehicles.
“[If caravans] rock up at 5pm and they spread out … at midnight 15 B-doubles who have planned to stop at that site can’t and have to drive on,” Mr Hannifey said.
“We agree, we don’t want tired cars on the road either. But they don’t get a minimum $600 fine [for missing a scheduled stop].
“We don’t mind sharing our bays … [but] we’re going backwards in the number of truck stops available for us to park.”