Road rage battles have been heating up on Australia’s highways for years, but now a rising number of caravans is causing tensions to erupt between grey nomads and truck drivers, as they battle huge congestion.
It’s pushed experts to call for an urgent look at road etiquette as a whole, as the risk of accidents increases. So who’s in the right?
While grey nomads are chasing the sun for long weekends and holidays away, towing huge caravans and driving impressive motorhomes on some of the busiest roads in the country, truck drivers are doing the same while struggling to meet deadlines – and it’s causing heavy congestion and heated debate among drivers.
Australian Caravan Club chairman Craig Humphrey told Starts at 60: “There are around 120,000 RVs on the road at any one time, on average. It certainly increases at this time of year, between what we call Mother’s Day and Father’s Day syndrome, people leave home from May to September.”
It’s now leading to road rage arguments breaking out, Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia boss Richard Barwick explained to the ABC, as truckies battle for space with retirees and Baby Boomers in particular.
“The shared use between trucks and RVs is always a controversial point, because trucks are under a limited timeframe to get from point A to point B, while RVs are traditionally slower travellers, he told the site. “There are some horrific stories that have come across our desk.”
He said it can even lead to accidents as caravan and motorhome drivers get nervous seeing a truck very close behind them, panic, and come off the road.
Now, Humphrey has called for all drivers – of both RVs and trucks – to work together to improve etiquette on the roads, to avoid potential accidents.
He said: “We have to understand that the road is for everybody. Both parties need to understand that sharing the road can meet both requirements. By that, I mean caravanners shouldn’t use designated truck stops for breaks. Meanwhile, trucks should be aware that RVs can be slower and might not have radios in their cars.
“They’re all on the road for an experience, whether that be work or recreation. I think etiquette is a thing that we’ve got to start understanding. Not just being courteous – which is a big part of it – but etiquette about how RVs and trucks work together around passing lanes, or speeds, or understanding the air pocket effect when trucks pass caravans, to avoid a potential accident.
“Trucks and RVs have to work together, just understand that you need to keep a constant speed, don’t speed up or slow down.”
It’s sparked a fierce debate online, as many retirees argue trucks need to take better care – while other drivers insist RVs and caravan drivers go too slowly in derestriction zones.
One Facebook user commented on the ABC’s report: “Maybe if the grey nomads actually let faster traffic pass them instead of sitting on 70 in a 100 zone and speeding up the second they get to an overtaking lane…”
Meanwhile another agreed, adding: “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are driving … if you cannot, will not or are not capable of doing the speed limit … get off the road and catch public or tourist transport. While you are having fun no one else is.”
However, another called for fairer deadlines for truck drivers, writing: “And theres the problem.truck drivers shouldn’t be on impossible timelines. This makes roads more dangerous for everyone. They actually complained against minimum rates. Go figure?”
Another defended grey nomads, and added: “I am grey, but not a nomad, but travelling in highways and freeways where the limit is 120k I am amazed at the truckies desperate to overtake. When a the speed is reduced due to roadworks NO ONE SLOWS DOWN.”