Don’t nip and tuck

Truck­ers’ plea to hol­i­day driv­ers: ‘be part of the flow, not the start of the stop’

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE South African Na­tional Roads Agency Lim­ited (San­ral) said fewer Saf­fers are go­ing on hol­i­day this year and among those who do plan to travel, most are go­ing to Durbs by the sea.

This means a lot more hol­i­day driv­ers on SA’s busiest high­way — the N3 — and a lot more stress for the pro­fes­sional driv­ers who use this cor­ri­dor each day.

Year af­ter year, these truck­ers and taxi driv­ers have one plea to the hol­i­day driv­ers — be part of the flow, not the start of the stop.

But as hol­i­day driv­ers con­tinue to rush to their des­ti­na­tions, nip­ping into non-ex­is­tent gaps in front of trucks only to have to brake hard, this year Wheels is have a dif­fer­ent mes­sage for the hol­i­day driver — over six in 10 trucks need over a 100 me­tres to stop be­cause they do not have work­ing brakes. Pa­trick O’Leary, pub­lisher of

Fleet­watch and or­gan­iser of reg­u­lar Brake and Tyre Watch spot checks on SA’s high­ways, told

Wheels 68% of the trucks pulled over have faulty or no brakes.

At Duzi Brakes in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, Dar­ryn Evans, who is rated a lead­ing air-brake di­ag­nos­tic tech­ni­cian in south­ern Africa by Ger­man brak­ing com­pa­nies Wabco and Knorr-Bremse, said they see these trucks daily.

Evans agreed with O’Leary that the ma­jor­ity of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles on SA’s roads have faulty brakes. “A truck with good brakes will stop safely, but not in­stantly, but over six in ten don’t have good brakes,” he told Wheels.

Six tips to drive like a pro

Wheels in­ter­viewed many truck­se­cret ers and even taxi driv­ers for their ad­vice to make hol­i­day­mak­ers drive more like pro­fes­sion­als: • On a long jour­ney, go­ing as fast as pos­si­ble just guz­zles fuel but will win you only min­utes in to­tal travel time over an 80-km/h driver, even if the fast driver does not stop. Slower is smarter. • Main­tain­ing mo­men­tum is the to saving fuel. Keep the rev nee­dle low, the gear lever high and feed in just enough fuel to hold the speed. • Bad driv­ers brake, good driv­ers reg­u­late. Be the lat­ter and steer clear of those whose brake lights flash of­ten. • The jour­neys one re­mem­bers al­ways in­volve a stop for good food with nice peo­ple in a place with a view. Any jour­ney without these is just com­mut­ing. Ex­plore. • Get out of the rat race mind­set by count­ing your bless­ings — you have a fam­ily, and a car, and are go­ing on hol­i­day in a coun­try tourists all rave about. • Fo­cus on the flow, not the phone. • Lis­ten to au­dio­books, a good story will have ev­ery­one quiet and en­ter­tained. • And fi­nally, don’t brake in front of trucks. They can­not stop.

PHOTO: PA­TRICK O’LEARY

‘Look ma, no brake drums!’ Over six in ten truck trail­ers pulled over on the N1 had faulty to no brakes. These be­he­moths only stop slowly.

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