Get knotted!

In Newsletter Editorial5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 25, 2022

Guest editorial

By Lindsay Wood, Director, Resilienz Ltd.

Many years ago, long before ratchet tie-downs were a dime a dozen, my then-father-in-law Trevor ran a thriving trucking company, and extolled the virtues of the Truckies Knot. “Safe as houses,” he’d say, “but easy to undo.”

Even though it’s second nature to most truckers, I’ve not used the knot often enough to master it, and I still need to check instructions to get it right. And today’s online instructions confirm Trevor’s pre-internet enthusiasm – he’d have loved the name of the clip Truckers-Hitch-THE-most-awesome-knot-on-the-planet!

The importance of the truckies knot reinforces just how easily us townies underestimate the reality of securing a load. If we surveyed drivers of the cars clogging city motorways morning and night, I doubt one percent would have thought ‘thank heavens truckies know how to keep their loads safe’.

However, I also doubt one percent would have thought ‘the exhaust from my car is screwing my kid’s future’. So maybe we need to think about decarbonising our economy the way we think about a truckies knot: if we don’t get it right, we’re putting a whole lot of people at needless risk. Of course a dangerous load is bad enough, but wrecking the future is off-scale-high in terms of bad outcomes.

But even townies have to tie knots. Think shoelaces for starters, and think how many of us (townies and others) have to pause to tighten our shoes, or see kids racing round with trailing laces. And yet there’s an easy answer that shows just how a small change can make a big difference.

A good mate, Greg, is a mathematician and loves things with a quirky creative logic. Now Greg and I go orienteering, and running through thick forest quickly loosens vulnerable knots. One day, as I was tying my double bows, he grinned and asked with feigned innocence “Easy to undo, are they?” I knew he was setting me up, but had no idea how.

“Check this out,” he said, tying up one of his shoes. “And … there!” he announced with a flourish and an almost imperceptible extra twirl of his fingers.

“So?” I asked.

“Won’t come undone,” he assured me. “But now…” With just a quick pull of one end, his shoe was untied. He might have been quoting father-in-law Trevor: “Safe as houses, but easy to undo!” (The pictures show the key step, but click here for the whole process.)

So what’s point of all of this?  Well, whether or not the stakes are high, a small thing can make a big difference. Maybe you and a mate have an idea for a way to help truck drivers keep the engine load in a low-emissions range, or a tip you can offer car drivers how to be more fuel-efficient.

But don’t be afraid of the big things too – you might just have an invaluable idea to help Bluebridge or the Interislander make their operations run more smoothly, or help motorway repair crews keep the traffic flowing better. Or maybe you’ve envisaged a cool “how to lower emissions” road sign…

Gavin Myers’s editorial last week was great example – sort the distance between a pilot vehicle and the wide load following, and that stretch of road is suddenly a heap safer. I’m sure truckers all over the country have parallel experiences and similar thoughts. Please share them!

It’s easy as to enter, and entries need to be in by the end of the month (that is, if you want to be in for a prize! Of course a good idea is welcome any time!). I hope we see one (or more) from you! Good luck!

Have you got a simple way of making the world better and more efficient, especially from a supply chain and general business perspective? Then enter the 2022 Trucking Toward a Better Future competition. To find out how, read the rules, and check the terms and conditions, click here: