Looking After the Old Farts

As the trucking industry heads headlong into the new era of new technology, of zero emissions, and all the other gadgets which come along with the latest in technology, perhaps we should also be looking after the old farts.

There are plenty of tips and tricks that the old school truck drivers picked up over the years which could be useful into the future when things go wrong. A lot of the problems which come along with the new technologies are based around issues with sensors and electronics being confused by events.

Old school truckies had to become used to fixing their own vehicles and improvise solutions on the fly, on the job, as a result of the fact that we had no communication a lot of the time.

Of course, now the trucks in many fleets are permanently connected electronically to the home base and often the issue can be fixed remotely by a smart young millennial on a laptop.

However, thinking about this reminds me of a chat I had with a truck technician who was talking about his time as an apprentice and advice given to him by one of his older colleagues. When he was doing his first night shift, being on call at night, he was told to make sure he had his normal set of tools, but also a sledgehammer and gas bottles.

He told me that, since all of the new technology have come in, and electronics have transformed, the way people work on trucks, it has completely changed his routine when he is loading up the ute for a call out when he is on call at night.

He told me, “it’s completely different now instead of just throwing in the toolbox, sledgehammer and the gas bottles. I know have to make sure that I take the laptop, but I still have to make sure that I’ve got the sledgehammer and the gas bottles because there are plenty of times when you still need a bit of the old technology to get the job done.”

Yes, we do all have to be up-to-date with all of the latest technology and trained in the techniques to work with all the sophisticated stuff, but it is a good idea to keep some of that old technique and learnings from the past.

Another example of this, which occurred this week is the number of page views we got on a post which we put up on the website last week, with a couple of videos of people showing off their 18 speed Roadranger skills on YouTube.

There has been a lot of interest in this post, and even if a driver is not going to have to use a Roadranger and develop those skills needed in the fine art of handling an 18 speed under heavy load, simply watching those videos does give you some basic knowledge about the dynamics at play between the power source, the load and traction.

Knowledge which, even though you don’t need to make the changes with a modern gearbox, does help drivers to develop techniques around when to put the power on and when to let it go, to get a better result in a tricky situation.


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