Communication is everything

For those of you that don't know about CB radios and the like, just about every truck on the road is using one. Gone are the days of the "ten four good buddy" lingo of the 70's and 80's and the sets are now just about all UHF which gives a much clearer sound than the old AM sets.

Generally we all sit on channel 40 except when running the Pacific Highway (channel 29). It's not all idle chit chat and any one having a long conversation will normally change down a couple of channels to leave the air clear for others or get told to do so.

Apart from the standard 'road reports' where announcments about police activities are relayed, the two-way radio is a great tool for passing slower moving vehicles with trucks further up the road calling back to say when the road is clear. So if you get overtaken when you think visibility is not good enough we are probably using someone else's eyes to see a lot further than you think.

If you're listening in on the 2-way, ignore the usual idiots around town who generate some perverse form of entertainment antagonising the passing truckers, and take time to figure out the terms used to advise of upcoming 'hazards'. Phrases like 'Candy Car', and 'double one' refer to the Highway Patrol vehicles, whilst 'Company Car' is a general duties vehicle. 'Barbie is cold' means the weigh bridge is shut and the are various location references like 'Sleepy Hill' (Tuggerah exit on F3) and 'Money Tree' (there are a few of these) which can take a while to figure out. Other than that it can be quite interesting to listen to.

Whilst I'm on the subject of visibility; it surprises me how many vehicles hang around a truck in the blind spots either back near the trailer wheels or next to the passenger door. Both these places are potential death zones if the truck driver has lost track of the vehicles moving around him (or her). I often find myself wondering where a particular car has gone only to find them checking out the wheel nuts on the left hand side.

The other stupid thing drivers often do is go slow (below the posted speed) forcing me out into lane 2 or 3 and just as they see the bull-bar come along side their window they shoot off into the distance. I can only assume that until I drew along side them they were oblivious to my presence. Use your mirrors and your common sense and you may be around for a lot longer.