‘Australia Needs a Towing License’, this is the title of a piece written by Joseph Van Woerkom on the Caravan and Motorhome website. Finally, someone on the other side of the great divide gets it, there are people running around the roads of Australia towing caravans who have no idea what they are doing and are a danger to themselves and others on the road, many of whom are truck drivers.
A car driver can set up a car and caravan combination weighing 13.5 tonnes and drive it on their car driving license. at the same time a truck driver has to be two license levels above that to drive a similar commercial vehicle. This truck would also have a much better braking system and truck to trailer weight distribution.
Joseph goes on to explain the physics of the situation, where the caravan pivots on both horizontal and vertical plane. A car and caravan at this weight is, inherently much less stable than a truck of equal weight.
The obvious conclusion is the driver of the car pulling the caravan should have to undergo training and pass a test before they are allowed to take to the highways of Australia. This a point with which the whole trucking industry would heartily agree.
Each year around holiday time, truck drivers have their collective hearts in their mouths at the prospect of sharing the road with drivers who are often incompetent and sometimes downright dangerous.
What was gratifying was to see the tone of the comments by readers at the end of this article. they were generally supportive and understanding of the need to get the car and caravan public up to speed and capable of handling their ‘monster’ combinations.
Add into the mix the well known fact, being bandied about, stating 85 per cent of all accidents involving trucks are not the fault of the truck or its driver. Then it becomes obvious the onus should be on getting other drivers on the road up to speed and cognisant of the dynamics of their vehicle, and armed with strategies to keep it running straight and true.
All we need is a brave politician willing to vote to place an extra burden on the car driving public in order to make our roads safer. We can be certain there will be not a single one queueing up at the prospect of introducing new legislation to ensure those members of the public driving caravans are able to handle them.
Let’s just hope we don’t end up in a situation where a rash of accidents with caravans involved force the politicians hand to do something about a situation which is literally ‘an accident waiting to happen’!