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Viewpoint: Anger and frustration on the back roads

Taking a “staycation” at home this summer? What a great concept. There is, however, one major bit of understanding required to go along with it.
Powell River Peak viewpoint
Getty image.

Taking a “staycation” at home this summer? What a great concept. There is, however, one major bit of understanding required to go along with it.

We in Powell River are in the unique position of having somewhat less than 100 kilometres of paved highway, which stretches from Saltery Bay to Lund, and that’s it. All other travel needs to be done on forest service roads, also known as industrial haul roads.

It’s okay to use these roads to get to our destination, but there are a few major things we all need to understand about using them.

First and most important is that we all need to acknowledge we will be sharing these roads with industrial haul trucks, logging trucks and equipment hauling trucks. 

I was intentionally delayed by one of those drivers recently and heard firsthand the impatience and frustration they have. This individual screamed and swore at me. I hope he is sorry for his hot-headed display of anger. I may or may not have been at fault for this attack but I don’t feel anyone should be subject to such a scary display of anger. 

I had to laugh at another truck driver’s declaration that we were all just a bunch of "city drivers.” It’s somewhat true as most drivers really have no idea of what to do when encountering one of these monster haulers.

With all of the promotion and articles touting the abundance of attractions in our backcountry, drivers of these big rigs must be shaking their heads in frustration. They know there are going to be a lot more of those city drivers coming at them as summer weather arrives.

So, a safe and peaceful coexistence needs to be maintained. City drivers need to be prepared and truck drivers need to be the professionals we depend upon every time we meet them out there.

Anyone who is planning on travelling on these roads owes it to themselves and the truck drivers to be properly prepared. Allow plenty of time to get to a destination and keep an eye out for trucks, loaded or empty.

Always immediately use a pull-out if one is handy or at the very least, pull over as far as you can and stop until the truck passes and the dust settles. Before venturing out on one of these challenging roads, be sure to obtain the informative Forest Roads: Guide for Safe Travel, which is available online. This booklet covers all you need to know to travel safely this summer.

I have heard it said that one should have a radio that can tune into the same frequency the big guys use. That would be okay if you knew the language of the truckers and various checkpoints and pull-outs they refer to. Otherwise it is a language all of its own and could cause more confusion than good. Plus, can you imagine 100 city drivers out there each trying to communicate with each other and with truckers trying to find out what is going on?

Finally, don’t ever forget that the drivers of these big trucks cannot stop on a dime and simply pull over. Show them the respect they deserve and they will happily return the favour.

And lastly, how about a friendly wave as they pass you by?

Jerry Eskes is a Powell River resident.