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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

You have to dodge these bullets to become a trucker in SA, can you?

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So you want to be a trucker?

Have you heard the story of our battle?

Do you have what it takes, it’s a war and we are soldiers. In fact, soldiers are in a safer situation than truckers. Disappointingly, the same people we deliver to are the ones who wage war on us.

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Soldiers fight wars to defend our country against invasion from enemies, that’s very understandable. The trucker’s fight is to successfully deliver the most essential goods and commodities to citizens amidst numerous challenges.

Our battlefield is the never-ending road. It’s a long dreary lackluster winding perpetuity, riddled with potholes, uneven surfaces, treacherous curves, and inclines so steep they put man and machine to the test. If you ever went to Jozini, Van Reenen, and several other mountain passes that our routes pass through, you would understand.

You tackle the most slippery declines that leave you clutching your teeth as if it helps the braking system.

It’s a war zone, we are dodging bullets.

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What bullets?

Hijackers, reckless and negligent road users, robbers, ladies of the night, and looters to mention just a few, all gang up on you making life as a trucker a bumpy ride.

If you park on the roadside to rest, chances are that your wheels will be missing when you want to resume your trip. If you park in notorious areas your sails are cut open whilst they clamor inside to reap freebies. If you choose to sleep in some towns, the local authorities chase you away, they prohibit trucks to park overnight as if they don’t benefit from our concerted efforts. Law is the law but there are times, as human beings, you expect these cops to understand you and look aside.

If you stop to relieve excess bodily fluids, especially along the N3, N12, and N17, you stand the risk of being hijacked.

After you have been hijacked, you become the first suspect for the crime until you, or circumstances prove your innocence.

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Visitor in your own home

Where I work, I can safely say I live at work and visit home for 5 days after every 21 days. The prolonged absence from home, from our spouses, leaves us with insatiable appetites for the forbidden fruit, a biological requirement and necessity.

Lurking in the dark corners to take advantage of this hunger are salacious, curvaceous temptresses. They often leave you riddled with sexually transmitted diseases.

Our weapons in this unforgiving war are our wit, self-respect, and our machines. The man has to be tenacious, hardened, tough and equipped with a strong mental fortitude to overcome all these difficulties.

Our weapon the machine, comes in many varieties Volvo, SCANIA, MAN, Freightliner, DAF, IVECO, DAEWOO etc, although it makes a huge difference, if you have a Volvo FH series, life is made easier, its raw power roars into life when summoned upon to face tough topography.

Read also: Truck drivers will toyi-toyi at your office not on our roads, says Cele

A Scania gives you a good smoother ride on the tarmac and fantastic illumination at night, a MAN is a weaker weapon for pure draught power but gives you better consumption.

The war is harder if you have an old Freightliner or International for a weapon, they need an experienced soldier otherwise it’s not very docile on the descent. Stay very far away from the old International Eagle if you are not a trucker by passion or it will humble you if you are lucky to survive.

More battles to conquer

Unreasonable bookings and offloading times. Arrive early it’s a crime, arrive late is a crime, the art is arriving on time, notwithstanding traffic jams and other unforeseen hindrances.

We deal with mean forklift operators and unreasonable security guards who always find a reason to siphon you out a cold drink.

The battle is harder when your superior officers (controllers) breathe down on your neck like scavenging hyenas out for a kill, always pushing for an extra load without respite. Controllers and management can make your life a living hell.

We deal with smaller vehicles, Polos, and Quantums who dodge in and out of traffic lanes like springboks, and are oblivious to the physics that makes a truck operate.

As hard as it may we stand proud and tall to be truckers. Satisfaction at every delivery.

May God favor us. – by Freethinker Jo

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