Video & Gallery: It's not easy being a trucker!

COUNTY chiefs have today admitted they need to work with haulage companies to ensure lorries use the most suitable routes in the county.

COUNTY chiefs have today admitted they need to work with haulage companies to ensure lorries use the most suitable routes in the county.

Lorries dominate the road and can often be the source of irritation for other road users for numerous reasons, ranging from taking alternative routes along country roads to staying overnight in lay-bys.

Due to the constant stream of complaints about lorry drivers, Suffolk County Council, which manages the highway network in Suffolk on all non-trunk roads, plans to work more closely with freight and haulage companies to make sure lorries stick to the best roads to travel through or deliver goods within the county.

To prove that driving a lorry is no mean feat, members of the media got the chance to have a go driving one around the airfield at the Rock Barracks, near Woodbridge.

Rob Summers, trainer at Leggett's Transport, explained that a thorough 'walk around' to check the lorry for safety was vital before setting off.

With a bed, a television and DVD player, a fridge and a heater, it seemed quite a cosy set up but for drivers on the road for several weeks at a time, it could become claustrophobic and the other realities of driving a lorry are sometimes forgotten.

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Next Thursday county, district and parish councillors will be able to talk to a lorry driver on the trials and tribulations they face on a daily basis. Leggett's Transport, based in Bury St Edmunds, will be bringing along a cab to Endeavour House between 10am and 2pm to give councillors the chance to have a look around and find out more about all the issues involved.

What is your view on lorry drivers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

DRIVING a 44 tonne lorry seemed like a far cry from my little Ford Fiesta. As my Fiesta, circa 1993, is without power steering, I have a hard enough time manoeuvring a three-point turn.

So it was with this thought in mind that I considered a crash course in weight lifting beforehand to manage the HGV beast. I needn't have worried as the steering for the lorry was really sensitive, which I soon found out as I drove along the airfield.

Luckily there was an automatic gear box, which meant I didn't have to worry about changing between the 12 gears. It actually felt scarily light to manoeveure and I kept forgetting the trailer behind me was so big.

It feels incredibly powerful but fortunately the braking was sensitive too as I discovered much to the misfortune of my passengers, who let out groans as they were surged forward on more than one occasion.

Then it came to reversing. Now I'm no expert on reverse parking as two failed driving tests will reveal, so getting that lorry to fit between four cones was a challenge to say the least. Thanks to patient advice from Leggett's trainer Rob and shouts of 'left wheel', 'right wheel', I soon got it straight.

By the end I was getting the hang of it though I don't think I'm quite ready for the life of a trucker.

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