Easter driving is a bloody nightmare

Michael Browning — 23 April 2011

EASTER TRAFFIC. DON'T you love it?

Queues of cars and trucks all inch forward with no regard for the fact that you can't start and stop four tonnes of tow car and caravan like you can start and stop a Mini.

What really eats me up are the ones that lane change right into your braking zone, so you have to stamp on the electric brakes and risk parking a 22-wheeler in your en suite!

Then there are the ones that give you the bird because you can’t match their HSV away from the lights and they are stuck behind you.

Even more frustrating is driving on crowded country roads. Double demerit points and predatory police, particularly in NSW and Qld, mean you can't take advantage of the nice downhill sections on freeways to get a good head of steam to crest the other side. The radar is aimed squarely on you as you hit the valley. Instead, you have to slavishly slow your rig and then come down several gears to get up the other side, all the while enduring dagger looks from motorists caught behind you.

Perhaps worse is when you DO manage to get a good downhill run, then you come up behind a slower moving truck you can’t overtake, because passing traffic won’t let you out. You can end up slugging it out behind that truck for kilometres on end.

That said, you don't come up behind many slow trucks these days. More often, it's the reverse. Most B-Doubles seem to sit on or just above the speed limit, regardless of the topography, and they’re happy to let you know you’re in the way. I've had countless trucks shadow me just centimetres from my tail, then forge past and cut in front, leaving absolutely no reaction space.

When it comes time to refuel, a lot of servos simply don’t cater for caravans, or else the diesel pump in those that do isn’t caravan-friendly. Sometimes it’s a greasy mess tucked around the back, and the flow is so strong that it nearly blows your tow car off the rig. And sometimes it’s hidden amongst the other pumps in an inconvenient place to get your rig, and on the opposite side to your tank. Then you have to drive into the forecourt not knowing which fuel bay to aim for, and then find yourself with an impossible articulation to get to it.

What’s wrong with big signs on the end of each bay saying "ULP" or "Diesel"? That would be too easy. And holidays should never be easy.

WORDS Michael Browning

Have a safe and happy Easter, from everyone here at Caravan World.


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Michael Browning