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An important message about the use of UHF radios to communicate with heavy vehicles and road pilots

Recreational vehicle drivers have as much right to be safe on the road as all other drivers. To ensure this they must take every opportunity to travel on the side of safety. They’ve spent a small fortune setting up their travel equipment. Installing a UHF radio could go a long way to ensure their safety.

Pilot Vehicle Driver Christine Thiel said this article has evolved from her own experiences, and related experiences of truck drivers and other pilots, expressing the same concerns.

So Ms. Thiel has asked you to do all you can to support her push to get drivers to fit UHF radios, to give way to pilot vehicles and oversize loads, and to follow the pilot’s instructions when advised via the radio on channel 40.

The June issue of The Wanderer [At the Wheel] referred to using UHF and HF radios in their recreational vehicle as they travel. There was no reference to any specific use of these radios.

Apart from chatting to fellow travellers on channel 18, there is a much more important reason to monitor channel 40. Monitoring this channel could save their life.

Travellers will need a radio to monitor the movements of other motorists, especially trucks and oversize loads, so why not call the pilot vehicle behind you or heading in the opposite direction. It could save their life.

Based on her own experience, Ms. Thiel said driving a large motorhome or towing a caravan is a big responsibility, but there still seems to be much ignorance when it comes to negotiating the large trucks and oversize loads on Australia’s  highways.“Everyone on the road wants to get home safely to their families, and the UHF radio could go a long way to make sure this happens.”

While some of the radio transmission in the metropolitan area is less than polite, the radio is used for more practical purposes on the open highways.

Road trains, b-doubles and all heavy traffic depend on the radio to keep informed of road and traffic conditions, and to warn other drivers of any hazards they might encounter.

Vehicles involved in oversize movements depend on UHF radio to keep everyone in the vicinity of the big load informed, and as safe as possible. Pilot vehicle drivers advise the truck driver of traffic conditions and hazards they might encounter on the highway. Negotiating oversize loads on the open highway can jeopardise the safety of all other traffic.

Pilot drivers specifically advise approaching trucks of the presence and size of the oversize load. They try to advise recreational vehicles of the approaching oversize load, but it’s impossible if the RV doesn’t have a UHF radio.

Oversize loads could be up to nine metres wide, heavy, high and long. The pilot vehicle drivers will guide the travellers safely around the big truck, and they will also advise traffic where to find a safe place to get off the road.

All other vehicles, including road trains, cattle trucks, motorhomes and campervans must give way to the oversize load, specifically on  the approach to bridges, narrow roads though hazardous terrain. 

So while they’re setting up their travel motorhome rig, fit a UHF radio. Most importantly, turn it on and please use it!

Monitor channel 40 at all times. Please don’t clutter this channel with chat.

Usually channel 18 is the “motorhomers” chat channel. If they’re wondering why it’s quiet, is because everyone else is listening to channel 40.

Some roadwork sites will also display advice regarding the channel they use. This helps to advise motorists of road blocks, delays and hazards. The oversize team will also work with the road workers and machine operators to ensure everyone is safe while the large load is passing.

We all want to enjoy our travels, and to return home safely. A UHF radio scanning channel 40 could go a long way to achieve this.

The Australian Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association wishes you safe and happy travels.

Tags: Safety UHF Radio RV Campervan Motorhome Caravan Travel HF Towing Hazards Vehicle Offroad Australian Pilot Vehicle Drivers Association
Category: Features
Written: Thu 01 Sep 2016
Printed: September, 2016
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