There is one type of motorist that is guaranteed to get a trucker lost.
For seven years, Aaron Farquhar has traveled endless, unforgiving stretches of bitumen, but he took some time while piloting his semi to reveal the ups and downs of a trucker’s life, including the most irritating things on the road.
“You’ll be driving on a single lane road and it will be a 100kmh zone and the car in front of you will be going 90kmh, but when the overtaking lane comes and you go to overtake, they accelerate to 100.” said Mr Farquhar.
Then, as soon as the passing lane ends, they slow down again.
“I think it’s because they don’t want to go faster but they don’t want to be behind us either, but that’s what causes accidents.”
“You hear the truckers on the radio going crazy and I understand it because I catch it all the time.”
Sydney-based truck driver Aaron Farquhar has been driving semi-trucks interstate for seven years.
Caravan drivers were the most common offenders in this regard.
Mr Farquhar, who drives about 5,000 kilometers a week between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as occasionally from Melbourne to Adelaide, said he was surprised by the Reckless behavior of road users.
“Right on the Logan Highway this morning I had a truck next to me and we were going about 70kmh with a little bit of traffic and a motorcycle passed between us,” he said.
“I was very scared.
“The other trucker could have gotten a little bit of wind that pushed his trailer, which could shift it towards me and then catch the handlebars of the bike and the next thing you know, it’s under our tires.”
Farquhar said he sees a “really bad” truck accident every fortnight and sometimes weekly.
“Aside from the military, I think truck driving is the most dangerous industry in Australia,” he said.
Mr Farquhar covers around 5,000 kilometers during each 80-hour week, driving between major east coast capitals and Adelaide.
“There are many accidents that you don’t hear about and in which many people die.”
As for which state had the worst roads, Farquhar gave that dubious honor to Victoria, at least on the stretches he knows best.
Last year, 49 truck drivers died in accidents on Australian roads in 2023, which is almost one death per week.
Farquhar said he had seen his share of road carnage, including images that haunted him.
“About two years ago, near Port Macquarie, I was going south and this truck had veered left into a big barrier,” he said.
“I think he bounced and then the truck flipped and pretty much spun and spun. They had tarps and things trying to cover him, but I saw them pull his body out of the windshield.
Farquhar (pictured with partner Dani) says truck driving outside the military could be Australia’s most dangerous occupation.
However, that was not the scariest thing I had ever witnessed.
“I drove through Narellan and saw a dead kangaroo scattered all over the road,” he said.
‘Turns out it was the body of a guy who was constantly run over.
‘From what I understand, it was a suicide. He threw himself in front of a truck but the driver had no idea, I thought it was just a kangaroo.
‘The driver got I charged and lost everything.
The trucking industry has been accused of endangering road safety by forcing drivers to work dangerously long hours to meet delivery schedules and Farquhar does not dispute this happening.
“I think in a lot of accidents where people go off the road, which is most accidents, it’s due to fatigue and tiredness,” he said.
‘There are companies that put pressure on their drivers and tell them: ‘Wow, wow, it has to arrive, it has to arrive.’
On average, one truck driver per week died on Australian roads last year (pictured, an accident in Melbourne in 2022).
Farquhar said the company he worked for, PrixCar, did not do this.
‘In my company they take care of us. “They take care of our safety, our health and our mental health on the road,” he said.
‘If you don’t make it because of fatigue and you’re tired, that’s okay.
“When you start to get tired, you get up and get the rest you need.”
Farquhar became a semi-truck driver because he was unhappy with the salary he was receiving driving refrigerated trucks around the New South Wales city of Wollongong.
Perhaps surprisingly, only one day of training is needed to obtain a semi-truck driving license, but applicants must already be qualified to drive semi-heavy trucks.
“My partner has asked me many times: ‘I don’t know how to drive that big thing, how do you do it?'” Mr Farquhar said.
“I always say when you get your learner’s license for your car you go crazy and we were like that when we first got our truck license.”But as time goes by, you gain experience and feel the truck.
A map of where truck drivers lost their lives in deadly crashes on Australian roads last year
‘I can take my truck to places where people would be scared to take their car and that just comes down to your instincts and reflexes that come naturally.
‘Reversing a semi-trailer, as long as you have space, is much easier than reversing a car trailer.
Farquhar, who lives in Minto, a suburb south-west of Sydney, works an average of 80 hours for five days a week, something he says his body is “accustomed to”.
For this reason he earns about 130,000 dollars a year, which is calculated at a rate of between 50 and 55 cents per kilometer.
“When you calculate that into hours put in, it’s nothing extravagant,” Farquhar said, noting that 80 hours is equivalent to two full-time jobs.
He said his partner, Dani, understood why he was away from home so much “busting his ass to raise his family.”
While Farquhar believes that larger transport companies, such as LinFox or Toll, pay their drivers well, this may not be true for smaller companies.
“I’ve heard of some companies that pay almost nothing,” he said.
“Most people are taken care of, but there may be some drivers who are paid in cash.”
Farquhar had found it difficult to enter the industry without experience, but said “it’s getting a lot easier.”
“There are a lot of driving jobs, 95 percent of companies can’t get enough drivers, so they seem to lower standards,” he said.
The shortfall is partly covered by Indian drivers on temporary work visas.
Farquhar makes videos for social media, which he hopes will foster a sense of community among truckers.
“Part of my social media is also trying to get truckers to talk to each other and become a community because out here on the road, the cab of a truck is the loneliest place a person can be,” he said.
“Many truck drivers are single and many marriages break up because the couple cannot support that lifestyle.”
According to Farquhar, the stereotype of the “big, tough truck driver who picks fights, cheats on his partners and frequents brothels” is gradually disappearing.
Farquhar said his partner Dani (pictured right) understood he had to be on the road to earn enough money to support his family.
“We don’t have time to do that,” he said.
“There are a lot of truckers who are tattooed and don’t take any shit, but they don’t pick fights, they’re the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”
However, there were still sex workers who specialized in trucking clientele.
Farquhar said that one night he was sleeping in his van at an accommodation center when something bothered him.
“You know, when you hear a noise and you wake up and you think, ‘Did I hear that or did I dream that?’, but I went back to bed,” Farquhar said.
“When I got up the next morning, I went out to talk to the trucker next to me, who also got up and had a cup of coffee and I said, ‘I woke up to a bang on my truck, I’m probably going crazy.’ “.
And he said, “No, that’s a truck stop prostitute.”
“He said they’re not as common as they used to be, but they’ll come and touch your truck, if you don’t respond they’ll move on to the next one.”
“I’ve seen some when I’ve walked by, but they look like normal women, they don’t have that stereotypical sex worker look.”
As for what keeps his mind active during the long hours he spends staring at the roads, Farquhar listens to Joe Rogan, Kyle, and Jackie O podcasts, but sometimes he just drives in silence.
However, at other times modern technology allows you to socialize with other truckers.
“I have conference calls with four or five drivers, one in Victoria and one in Adelaide, and we just joke around,” he said.
“It’s good for your mental health, it keeps you awake, you laugh a lot, you talk about the industry and what you’ve seen today.”