'Pull over and let them pass': Truckie's warning to drivers
TRUCK drivers face a life-and-death battle on our roads every day.
That's according to Tony Cutler, who has been driving trucks for 36 years and says it's a daily battle against other motorists for truckies trying to get to their destination.
Mr Cutler, who is Hernes Freight Service's operations manager, said "cars are more annoying to trucks than trucks are to cars" and added the majority of truck drivers did the right thing.
"People need to sit in the passenger seat of a truck for a day and they will see enough that they'll understand," he said.
Mr Cutler has spoken out after school teacher Rebecca Fuggle told The Northern Star she was left shaken and fearful after two close encounters with trucks while driving earlier this week.
In one instance, the Wollongbar woman claimed the truckie forced her car off the road.
Mr Cutler said he could "understand why people could become intimidated but if that's the case all commonsense seems to go out the window".
"Pull over and let the guys pass because they are on a job," he said. "They don't want to speed or run people off the road but they want to be consistent.
"If something is bigger than you, let it go."
He said drivers not abiding by the speed limit was the most frustrating thing for truckies.
"We've got video footage you wouldn't believe ... cars coming on the wrong side of the road, speeding up and slowing down," Mr Cutler said.
"We all have to share the roads safely."
He acknowledged truckies had delivery deadlines to meet but experienced drivers didn't disregard motorist safety in order to meet their schedule.
"When you're on tight delivery timeframes you can get a bit anxious but, seriously, people in cars should know better than to muck around with trucks - a lot of people play with trucks," Mr Cutler said.
"In saying that, some (truck) drivers are aggressive but we don't tolerate that behaviour whatsoever.
"You always see people cutting trucks off. I don't know what it is or why they want to get in front. It's safer to be behind the truck and generally truck divers know their way, especially at night."
Mr Cutler acknowledged there were truck drivers who gave the profession a bad reputation but they were in the minority.
"I think about 10-15 per cent of the truck drivers that aren't so flash ... you might get a few young blokes on the road who will spoil it for the rest," he said.
"But a lot of light vehicle drivers don't know or care how a heavy vehicle operates, and it shows.
"Trucks do have a lot of blind spots. The sign 'Do not overtake turning vehicle' is there for a reason - people have to be mindful of that."
Mr Cutler said Hernes trucks had front and rear cameras and tracking devices, meaning every moment of each company truck was tracked and alerted in real time.
"If one of our drivers has an over-speed, we know about it. We know if everyone's doing the right thing," he said.
He said P-plater drivers posed a lot of problems on the road.
"You can anticipate it. P-platers will race around the truck, then slow down and the truck will catch up again and the drivers will do it again - they don't even know they are doing it but truck drivers try to keep a consistent speed," Mr Cutler said.
He said a dangerous driving course should be undertaken by people hoping to get their provisional licence.
"It needs to be part of a licensing process - that people understand what vehicles are and are not capable of," Mr Cutler said.
He said truck drivers were governed by the rules and regulations of the Roads and Maritime Services and there were break hours in place and medicals for drivers.
"It's getting hard to find good operators - we don't want bums in seats," he said.
Hernes Freight Service in Lismore is currently looking for "good" heavy-combination and multi-combination drivers.