Commercial Motor Live
As Logistics Manager for the Kerfoot Group, I was lucky enough to be invited to join one of our haulage partners, Abbey Logistics at Commercial Motor Live at Millbrook Proving Ground near Milton Keynes on 2nd October. One of the perks of the job I guess!
The ground was packed with all the main truck manufacturers exhibiting along with lots of companies offering support services to truck operators. There were also seminars to attend covering many truck-related subjects such as driving law & legal compliance.
The definite highlight of the day was being given the opportunity to drive an LGV truck around 2 test tracks without an LGV C+E licence! I was really excited about this, not only as it looked very fun but also to get a small understanding on what our team of drivers do on a day to day basis. I attended the all important health & safety brief & booked my slot to drive a Volvo FM13-460 4×2 truck. As my time approached I was rapidly talking myself out of having a go but luckily the people at the Volvo stand were really nice & assured me there was nothing to it, so I didn’t back out!
I had a really friendly instructor who talked me through everything I needed to do & before I knew it I was driving a 40t truck! We went round 2 courses; the first was “the hill course” which involved manoeuvring around roundabouts, lots of bends & of course up & down hills! I think my palms had just about stopped sweating by the time I got round the first few roundabouts! It is quite a strange feeling putting your foot to the floor &feeling the truck moving through the gears to get up the hill. Then it was onto the “speed course”, a big oval race track where you could really get your foot down! 80km/h seemed pretty fast in a fully laden truck!
I managed to keep all the wheels on the track so I was pretty pleased with myself! It was easier than I had imagined, once you get the hang of taking the corners wide & keep an eye on what the trailer was doing! I’m not sure how I would feel about being on public roads or trying to reverse so think I will leave that to the experts like our team of truck drivers!
This was such a valuable experience & taught me a lot about what our drivers do day in day out. Although the truck pretty much drives itself with regards to changing gears, drivers need to be really alert, constantly checking their mirrors to see what the trailer is doing & anticipating a long way in advance if they are going to need to slow down for a hazard or stop to give way to other road users. There is so much more that they need to think about compared to driving a car, it’s really opened my eyes to their job & I now have even more appreciation for what they do!
Dawn Whitehouse, Group Logistics Manager