Thursday, 25 August 2011
I'm not talking actual rubbish here, but the whole works, the traffic jams, the detours, the sight and sound of ambulances and fire engines trying to force their way through three lanes of grid-locked traffic in desperate attempts to help survivors of a crash.
And then when you get to the scene of the accident, you try not to look, but invariably you'll see something that turns your stomach.
Bottom line for van drivers, lorry drivers, in fact, anyone who drives for a living, is that at some time you will witness a scene which will change the way you drive forever.
I read a story today about how road safety experts believe that showing gory images of car crashes is no longer the deterrent it once was for young drivers, after a survey revealed that shock tactics were unlikely to get some 17 to 24-year-olds to think seriously about their driving habits.
This particular set of safety champions had started a new campaign called "Deadly Mates" which pushes the notion that if you're in the car of a friend who's speeding, they have the power to wipe out your life in the blink of an eye. They're hoping that peer pressure can stop young drivers from being reckless and driving like selfish maniacs.
I hope it works, because one thing is for sure, I know too many people, myself included, who have lost a son, daughter, mate, brother, sister, girlfriend or boyfriend in a car crash caused by a young driver.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Now, I know it's futile to bellyache about it but this sort of thing makes me sick, it's the "I'm alright Jack – I'll just take anything I want" mentality which led to the riots recently.
Here I am driving my Transit van up and down the country, trying to do an honest day's work and some thieving low-life wanders up while I'm getting me head down and steals a tank full of fuel. If ever I caught the scum which tried it on my van, his life wouldn't be worth living.
Having said all that, and it feels good to vent sometimes doesn't it, I am going to try my damnedest to stop them getting their rotten little hands on my diesel in the first place. I always try to park my van at night with the fuel cap side tight up to the wall in my yard, and when I'm out working, my favourite choice is to get it as close as possible to rose bushes. Failing that, under a lamp post is quite a sound idea and facing out onto a busy road where it can be clearly seen by passing traffic is another good idea.
However, there are always times when I'll have to leave the van in quiet roads with no-one about and it's there that a diesel thief is most likely to strike, so I'm just hoping that my lockable fuel-cap will fend them off for now.
Apparently Ford have introduced a fuel system to prevent diesel being put into petrol cars by mistake but the Easy Fuel cap-less system, with its specially shaped filler neck, has proved beneficial in the fight against fuel theft because it makes it harder for potential thieves to use siphon hoses.
Sounds simple, and hopefully more van manufacturers will develop similar systems to stop the diesel-swipers from taking what doesn't belong to them, but meanwhile I'll continue to park my van near a load of nettles and hope it's the thieves who get stung.
Image © Nicerollerskates via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence
Saturday, 6 August 2011
|There's nothing like an old sprinter|
Now, maybe it was because the Sprinter had a few miles on the clock and the fact that the last person to hire it must have transported a payload of fish on a hot day, but the lumpy ride combined with a stink of rotting seafood was enough to put me off almost immediately.
Yet, my Transit always rides like a dream, (I've got used to the noise) and the ride position with the high gear lever makes you feel like you're sitting in an armchair with your hand on a pint. So why would you ever want to drive anything else.
Anyway, the missus needed the Transit for the weekend and I got an important job in on Friday, so off to the van rental place I went and all they had was a Sprinter. The guy was really apologetic, but it was all they had, so off I went in the Sprinter.
The job was good, the smell was bad and even the missus could smell the fish on me when I got home, but the van was worse, and I have to say that getting back in my Transit on Monday was one of the best feelings ever. It was like coming home.
So, the moral of the story is – if you need to hire a van, hire a Ford Transit, don't take anything else or you'll be disappointed. I've compared them and the Transit is the best by far.