Sydney Truckie Has Advice For Newy Drivers

Here at Newcastle Live, we receive a lot of messages from our readers, viewers and listeners but mostly they’re from people in the Hunter.

When we received this one though, it was from a Sydney truckie by the name of Nev (we chose not to publish his surname) who recently had to travel into Newcastle and he wrote to us hoping we might learn something. We should mention that we have fixed a number of spelling and grammatical errors to make this readable. Here’s what he had to say . . .

Dear Newcastle Live,

My name’s Nev (last name removed), I’m from Sydney and I’ve been a truckie for over 30 years and travelled all over Australia. Mostly, people drive pretty much the same everywhere I go but recently I had to go into Newcastle to deliver a big load and, I have to say, you guys have some different approaches to driving. So, I am writing this in the hope I might educate a few of you about driving in a city, which I believe you are trying to become.

Cities are busy places full of busy people with schedules to keep. Everyone needs to understand this if the city is going to be a half-decent place to live. The most important thing is to consider others. So, here’s what I hope you can do.

Firstly, when you are at the traffic lights and sitting on a red, be ready for the change to green. At one intersection, I was about sixth in line from the front. I was running a bit late so I was very keen to get moving. I put the truck in gear, ready to roll. The light went green. The first car in line took way too long to move, the 2nd car the same and so on. By the time the car immediately in front of me finally got moving, I started to follow and BAM, the lights changed and I had to sit there through another bloody round of red. Two things are happening here. Firstly, it seems like everybody has all day to do things – you might but it’s a city, folks, there are busy people around you. Secondly, it appears as though these drivers have no consideration for those behind them. Get with the program. People in the city are busy – be ready and move when you see the green. No-one should have to wait for you to go, “oh, it’s green’, then put your car into gear and then move slowly – all that takes too long. Consider others and be ready to go, in gear, as soon as the light goes green.

Another thing. When you are on a multi-lane road and preparing to merge, can you give way to the vehicle that’s closest to the merge, not race to get in front of them so they either have to brake or move over to the shoulder. It’s dangerous – show a bit of courtesy and allow them to get ahead of you. The same applies to people coming out of a side-road onto a busy highway. If you are part of a long line of traffic, just slow down enough to let them in rather than just pass by and have them wait for who knows how much longer. It’s called consideration.

On the morning I was there, it was about 8:45am and I was heading down the highway (Stewart Avenue the map says) trying desperately to get to my destination on time. I was in the right lane, thinking it would be the smoothest path. Wrong. As I was heading up to an intersection near a school, the traffic just stopped. The left lane was still flowing but I was stuck. It turns out that we were all stopped for a couple of cars who decided it was a good idea to hold everyone else up while they waited to turn right across a busy main road during rush hour. My radiator wasn’t the only thing boiling over by this point.

When I got to my stop, I mentioned this to the local manager and he said it happens all the time and there are alternative routes to get to the same school without holding up traffic. May I suggest that those of you who engage in this selfish behaviour consider actually looking at these alternative routes and stop screwing it up for the rest of us.

Stop signs. Surely, it’s not that hard. First to the intersection gets to go first. If two cars arrive at the same time, give way to the right. It’s that simple. I was at one intersection with 4-way stop signs, behind a little Mazda. The driver of the Mazda clearly had lots of time on their hands or didn’t know the road rules, or both. After 30 seconds or so of just sitting behind the Mazda and with no other traffic at all visible, I honked my horn to get them moving. The Mazda began moving just as three cars pulled up to the right. Guess what? Despite it being the Mazda’s right of way, the car stopped again, ignoring the waving hands from those on the right encouraging the Mazda to go. No, instead the Mazda stays stopped and in all the confusion several minutes were wasted to let the three cars through before finally we get moving again. Frustrating. Learn the rules.

And finally, if you’re an SUV or four-wheel driver in one of those jacked up tanks, consider the fact that those in regular cars can’t see around you. I was behind another car, I can’t recall the make, and I was behind it stopped at a T-intersection. There was one more car, a big Prado, waiting to turn right. While there were no line markings to show this, the road was wide enough for two cars to be at the intersection, one to turn left, one to turn right. Both myself and the car in front were turning left. So, I’m behind both cars waiting to turn left. Problem is that the car turning left couldn’t see past the Prado to see when there was a break in the traffic. From my lofty perch I could see there were plenty of chances. The car driver edged forward slightly to get a better view but then the Prado did the same thing. We had been stopped for a good 5-10 minutes when the car driver thought it was okay to go. I could see it wasn’t but was helpless to do anything. They started their entry into the intersection and bang, a collision with a car they couldn’t have seen because of the Prado. This made us all late because I had to stop and make sure the drivers were okay but some 20 minutes later, I got going again. All because of one selfish driver.

Newcastle is looking pretty good as you push forward and become a city. But it seems like there are a few people who think it’s the old days and everyone’s got plenty of time to do things. It just ain’t the case these days so please, show a bit of consideration for other drivers to help them make their trip quicker and safer.

I hope this is helpful and that you pass it on to your readers so I can look forward to things improving before my next trip to Newcastle.