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VIDEO: Neil Mitchell driving a truck
Last week Neil went to Sandown racetrack for an afternoon of intense truck driver training
It's the first time he's ever been behind the wheel of a vehicle that big!
Watch what unfolded below or for the full story watch A Current Affair tonight (12/12/12).
NEIL MITCHELL: I Want to talk to truckies and to car drivers because I now understand.....a little.
But this is what happened with the help of Mercedes Benz and the chief driving instructor from Cameron (The Trucking Company)
I learned how to drive a massive Semi Trailer. A half million dollar Mercedes Benz transporter with more wheels than I’ve had hot dinners.
And then they simulated traffic conditions with four and five cars running around me as I drove.
A Mercedes, a little smart car and an M-Class
Another half million dollars worth of cars.
So I was in the middle of a million dollar experiment and could theoretically do a million dollars damage.
LISTEN BELOW: Neil Mitchell's interview with Driver Instructor Gary Miller
WATCH: Neil Mitchell driving a semi-trailer truck
Now.....This happened because I have criticised truckies for years
And they have said ‘You don’t understand.
So I set out to understand. The feelings, the pressure and it is extraordinary.
It is right outside the comfort zone
The truck was automatic which made it easier but I even had trouble climbing up into it initially.
It was state of the art Mercedes Automatic baking to some extent when it sense the car in front of you
But I still managed to scare the living daylights out of my instructor.
But I was better than Martin King from ACA. I drove for hours and hit nothing.
He drove for 5 minutes and took a chunk off a tree (..and the truck!)
Well done Neil, now you may know how to drive properly.
I got my HC licence with DECA some 30 years ago, not to become a truck driver but to become a better driver.
I spent 4 days up at DECA's slick pan in Sheparton where they teach you how to get out of all possible scenarios and when you get out on the pan and are driving in a straight line at 100 Kph and the Instructor turns the wheel hard left and you see the back of the trailer coming around in the left mirror you just know something is wrong but the training enables you to correct the out of control truck and get it back on track.
We were also taught how to bring a Semi to a stop after a front wheel blowout using a combination of Trailer Braking and Prime Mover acceleration, amazing stuff.
Now I rarely use my central mirror and rely mostly on my outside mirrors and I have a much enhanced knowledge of what to expect from all road users but especially the big trucks and B-Doubles.
Sincerely .......... Steve Gregory.Steve Gregory Wednesday 30 January, 2013 - 9:08 AM
"Neil Mitchell drives a truck" - we are hitting the bottom of the barrel. What next? - Neil Mitchell farts in an elevator or Neil Mitchell dresses to the left. Pretty serious stuff 3AW! Bring it on.Ivan@kinnane Saturday 22 December, 2012 - 7:16 PM
All that footage was within the grounds of Sandown race course so he didn't need to have any signage displayedWarren Wednesday 19 December, 2012 - 7:11 PM
Neil, congrats on finally putting your money where your mouth is and having a go at trying to learn een an nth per cent of what we have to contend with. Now if only the trucking industry, hopefully with your help now, could only persuade the rest of your journalistic brethren to put up or shut up about the industry that keeps this country alive. My only disappointment in what is in my opinion your very frank and open assessment that our job is too hard to do, is that instead of Channel 9 sending Mike King to the course with you they should have sent Mike Munro. I'm sure that after 30 minutes of driving even that very easy to operate Benz he'd hae had a change of heart about his relentless crusade against our industry and might even have finally apologised for calling us terrorists all those years ago! Thanks for at least haing the balls to try and learn what we have to go through.Rod Steen Friday 14 December, 2012 - 7:13 PM
Well done for having a crack Neil hopefully your voice will make some people listen,but until we can get TAC onside for some truck awareness TV adds things wont change alot. It should be part of getting your learners permit that you spend 5 hours of your 120 hours in a truck. If we can teach kids road safety and rules in grade 5 or 6 before they become smartarse teenagers we will go a long way to making our roads safer. Oh and after 3 million kms in the last 21 years i do have abit of an ideaKevin Friday 14 December, 2012 - 6:07 PM
@Matt-proudly Un-Australian, please do us all a favour.
1) Don't listen to 3AW if it's so bad.
2)If you still choose to listen don't comment.
3) Better still, leave this country that you hate so much!
Will 3Aw publish this? I doubt it..CC Thursday 13 December, 2012 - 8:08 PM