An old haulage friend of mine who works Pt Time in retirement offered me a trip out from my virtual house arrest to alleviate my boredom with the TV so I instantly snapped his hand off !
Anyway said expedition involved me riding shotgun in a 7.5 tonne Leyland DAF for just over two and a half hours in each direction, the main load being on a tri-axle trailer, it probably took longer due to not setting out until 8:30am into our local rush hour traffic. We didn’t actually get held up that bad, although the traffic was a bit snotty from South Lancs going into Cheshire, probably due to idiots not getting into the nearside lane soon enough when wishing to exit the M6.
My mate informed me that he could save fuel by setting the cruise control to 52 instead of allowing 56 Mph Speed Limiter to cut in, to which I pointed out that the cruise control feathered the accelerator unlike the limiter which cuts it. Its a 12ft high fairly long taught liner so its dragging the wind around anyway until it builds its own true streamlining as stated in an old OU programme presented by Fegus O’Kelly, and as proved by my own practical experience well above 56 before speed limiters were introduced.
I know the M6 well and apart from a van doing only 40 plus a car not doing much more we got through the Cheshire roadworks pretty well but the A50 link Stoke roads were completely new to me. Its now a virtual motorway all the way through to the M1, although one concrete section was like riding a donkey being used as a Rowntree’s Jelly Wobble Tester, perhaps capable of churning fresh milk into butter. Then a sign ” several LGV incidents here ” no doubt down to left hand drive trucks emerging blind from the short lay-by round a blind bend at the foot of a bank. Then at one roundabout ” Several overturns here ” no doubt due to its stupid design setting up a pendulum effect and leading to Slow Rollover Phenomena !
Most of the roundabouts were OK as far as LGV safety and some had the advantage of traffic lights fitted, however, some roundabouts had more than one lane with marked objective exit, thus making it all too easy to be turning left from the outside lane.
Anyway we found our destination no problem, a large Corporate plan with ASDA trailers in the yard an by this time I was ready for a piss anyway. I had to borrow my mate’s High Viz jacket as he said places like this are shit hot on that sort of thing, and we were instructed to drive round to the appropriate Goods Inward. The stacker driver had to go and fetch the extension forks so my mate had the straps off quick sharp and we were soon being unloaded. Two lifts the main machine on the trailer plus a control panel inside the taut liner, about 2ft wide 3ft long and 5ft high weighing over half a ton and top heavy.
It was the treatment of the control panel which caused me some concern as the stacker driver lifted it off the flat onto a wood pallet on the floor. They then sent a youth out with a pallet truck to take it into the shed, it could easily have fallen over and crushed him as he wheeled it over the uneven road.
Furthermore. directly adjacent to where we unloaded was a large liquid Nitrogen Tank with pipework connecting it to what appeared to be connected to large air radiators to convert it into gas with dry ice formed on the pipes, with no protective fencing to keep any foolish youths who may invade said site from inadvertently freeze the skin off their hands !
Anyway my mate took his statutary break there and as we ate lunch and drank coffee we watched a couple of Ryanair Jets approaching to land at East Midlands Airport. Thence back the way we came and again no problem with traffic anywhere, although I did remark that the Northbound M6 seemed far less busy with commercial traffic than when I last drove LGVs in 1993. I just wish I had kept one of the tacho’s where I came up from Junction 4 National Exhibition Center to the center of of Blackburn with a 25ton load of Coal from Daw Mill in just a shade under two hours !