OPINIONS and QUERIES
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A SUGGESTION FOR SIGNALLING CONTACT BETWEEN VEHICLES.
151101 As a road user operating a private car almost entirely for business purposes, I would like to draw attention to certain aspects of road usage which have become increasingly impressive—to me,, at any rate— during recent years. These, I suggest, are factors which have an important bearing upon the methods adopted to improve road safety.
For several years I had occasion to travel some 25,000 miles per annum, chiefly on trunk roads used very largely by commercial vehicles. An alteration in my affairs not long ago resulted in a change of routes, and my travels are now mainly on roads where the private car is mostly in evidence.
Every day I realize how much more pleasant it was to drive among the " heavies" than with the "rabbits." Using a fairly high-powered car and cruising at rather above average speeds, it was the rule rather than the exception for me to find the commercial-vehicle driver waving me by without having to be advised by horn of my desire to pass. If passing were unsafe, he warned me to that effect. He was nearly always alive to vehicle conditions behind and in front, and, as I passed, I acknowledged with a wave, as a matter of courtesy, the signal he had given.
it is the rarest thing ever to have occasion to thank a private motorist for a signal. It is the rarest thing to get one from this type of driver. I have just found out that hardly any of them ever acknowledges a signal to pass. This is the experience gained after running in a car for 1,000 miles, when I have been in the position of waving on or otherwise signalling some hundreds of vehicles. Evidently, the " heavy " driver is also treated with .equal discourtesy by the average private driver. , The moral, I deduce, is that whilst the commercial vehicle men are doing a job of work, the others are largely driving for pleasure, and that while people are enjoying themselves they become careless and illmannered.
I suggest that the primary lesson to be driven home into all users of road vehicles, especially new users, is to -maintain what might be termed "signalling contact' with every other vehicle in their immediate vicinity, or which may be affected by their movements. This is the first step towards the establishment of a general consideration of the safety and convenience of the other man, which, after all, is the greatest factor in safe driving. In these days, such good feeling seems hardly to exist outside the ranks of the racing motorist and commercial-vehicle-driver classes. In the latter category. I do not include as a generalization, retail tradesmen's delivery vans. These are mainly operated by errand boys, who, having passed their chrysalis stage pushing cycles, now spread their butterfly wings as van drivers.
I would like, through your columns, to thank many thousands of unknown " heavy " drivers for their road courtesy. OG .7215. Hatch End.
WHAT IS THE RAILWAY ROAD POLICY?
[51111 With reference to your leader, "Railway Road Transport in Competition With Rail Services" and Mr. Ashton Davies's letter, both in your issue dated July 30, perhaps the following may be of interest.
Some time ago I inquired for estimates for the conveyance of a small load of furniture from the North to London and received, amongst others, two letters, copies of which I enclose.
I may add that the goods were brought down by the carrying concern on the date specified by me, with no regard to any other arrangement respecting return
loads. PUZZLED_ . London, S.E.15.
From the London and North-Eastern Railway Co., West Hartlepool.
I have pleasure in quoting you the sum of £14 17s. tki. [This sum is obviously a typist's error, as the amount paid was L4 17s. fkl.] for the conveyance of your household goods from West Hartlepool to Peckham.
This price, *hich is a special one, is quoted subject to the goods being convbyed on Monday, May 3, and is in conjunction with our associated contractor,
If you wish to make arrangements, I stall be glad to receive your acceptance as early as possible.
From the Associated Contractor, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
We shall be prepared to remove the household furniture and effects. as pointed out to our representative, from
W. Hartlepool to Peckham for the sum of e4 17s. ed., return-load basis, date to be mutually agreed. This quotation includes all necessary packing, etc.
CLEARING HOUSES AND CUT RATES.
151121 I am sorry that Mr. Ashton Davies adheres to his hypothetical arguments (Letter 5099, July 30). In his attempts to single out a fractional section of clearing houses as the sole cause of cut rates, he is obviously " straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel," for ample evidence exists to prove that such clearing houses are quite in the minority.
Practically every clearing house in the country is recorded in some publication or another, and they muster only a hundred or so; moreover, the majority of these is also recorded as vehicle owners, whereas the traders and hauliers who habitually function as clearing houses are literally numbered in their thousands. However, the position is that Mr. Ashton Davies misses the crux of the matter in respect of low road rates. He complains of the effect and ignores the cause. Whilst I detest the methods of those who browbeat in any walk of life, it is surely quite natural for the public to "take any advantage it can of vehicles returning home." Even the railways charge only "half rate " on certain traffic " retnrning home." They created the precedent.
As di buying other commodities in the best market, £35 so is there clearly no harm in the public buying its transport commodity cheaply, and evidently the railways hold that view, seeing that they virtually pamper the public with low rates—and this long before the advent of road transport.
Stripped of all hypocrisy, as certain road hauliers persist in working at rates unnecessarily low, then they obviously cannot blame anybody but themselves, excepting that they are confronted with an enormous difficulty in the matter of the railways undercutting road rates.
Mr. Ashton Davies does not, of course, complain of the public taking advantage of the low rail rates he offers ; on the contrary, his chief complaint is that greater advantage is not taken of them. In fact, coercive measures are applied and even worse things foreshadowed. Yet he sternly rebukes traders agents for accepting low road rates from hauliers, albeit, many or most of which rates are the direct result of repeated undercuts in the rail rates. What inconsistency. Since when was it permissible for the railways to do as they please, attach the blame for bad consequences to their competitors, and deem it a " crime" for anybody to do anything " inimical " to railway interests?
Incidentally, what an effrontery Mr. Ashton Davies administers to hauliers generally in suggesting that their only alternative to an unladen journey is meekly to accept whatever rubbish some perfidious agency cares to inflict upon them. I am afraid your correspondent knows little of the " inside " working of road transport.
WALTER GAMMONS, Managing Director,
London, E.C.2. For Walter Gammons, Ltd.
DO DRIVERS APPRECIATE, RUNNING RECORDERS?
 May I encroach on your space for a comment On your vehicle-recorder controversy? I fully agree with " Foreman Mechanic" in his observations published by yott on July 23, and would stress the obvious
loss an employer suffers in the goodwill of his employees through the fitting of these " efficient " instruments.
Speaking as a motor driver myself. I feel my efforts to do my work in a fair manner are treated with suspicion ; this is also the opinion of my mates, who are also drivers. As a matter of fact, one of the leading topics of conversation in road-houses, etc., is on how Tom, Dick or Harry beat his particular clock.
There are a thousand and one ways in which some of these clocks can be faked and made to show quite satisfactory results at the end of the day.
There may be a type of driver who makes these clocks necessary, but why should the many suffer for the small minority? An employer who trusts his man will be well rewarded in the long run.
Bitterne. HEAVY DRIVER.
CARRIERS' VEHICLES ON MILITARY SERVICE.
 Will you please inform me if a sub-contractor to a Government contractor, who supplies vehicles for use at Army manceuvres, may employ for this purpose vehicles operating under a carrier's licence—in other words, does any restriction imposed under the licences affect the use of the vehicles by the military authorities?
London, W.C.1. Sun.
[The Regulation dealing with this subject is contained in the Road and Rail Traffic Act (Exemption) Regulations, 1936 (S.R. and 0. 1936—No. 11), which states that the provisions of Section 1 of the Act shall not apply to the use of any vehicle when hired (whether directly or through a contractor) by the Admiralty, the Secretary of State for War, the President of the Air Council, any Territorial Army County Association, Auxiliary Air Force County Association or County Joint Association, for naval, military or air-force purposes in connection with rnanceuvres, exercises or training. For the purposes of this Regulation, where a vehicle is so hired, the period of hire shall be deemed to include its journeys to and from the area where the manceuvres, exercises or training takes place.—ED.[