This week with the upcoming release of the new Oregon DLC in American Truck Sim I’ve done nearly all my driving in Europe. I have positioned my Mack in San Francisco which should be a good jump off point for jobs into Oregon. That DLC releases today and I guess I’ll be driving in ATS for much of the coming week. However, what’s been happening in Europe?
Working towards getting my second truck and trailer meant doing longer, better paying jobs. This self-evident ‘truth’ became a reality after dropping off a delivery in Köln……because from here I picked up a job going to Olsztyn in Poland. I don’t often go ‘east’ because the roads once you get into darkest Poland are a nightmare – they’re single carriageway and are inhabited by some of the maddest ai drivers you could wish to meet! Going straight across Poland from Berlin to Warszawa isn’t too bad as that route is all dual-carriageway but we’ll need to turn off at Poznań and from there it’s eyes-on-stalks driving up via Bidgoszcz to Olsztyn. I’m giving a slightly wrong impression here – the drive is through some great scenery. It’s just that when you get to the other end, you will breath a sigh of relief if you’ve got away with just a paint scrape!
Crossing Poland is synonymous with crossing the Vistula. Here we are crossing the famous bridge at Toruń……It’s a shared bridge with a railway track running alongside the road. I see a couple of drivers have had a minor accident on the on-coming side. I arrived in Olsztyn after rubbing my wheel hubs against the concrete barrier at some roadworks where a minor scrape was preferable to colliding with oncoming traffic – see what I mean 😉 After maintenance and a rest we were off to Košice in Slovakia. According to the route planner this is a 7 hour drive – someone’s having a laugh!
The route is mainly along the D9 which is almost entirely single carriageway despite being a major north-south artery. To add to the problems there are lots of crossroads without lights like this one……That sign means that vehicles on the D9 have right of way but you get lots of drivers who pull out regardless forcing you to brake, so it’s best at all of these to slow to around 30kmh on approach just in case – which eats into your time very quickly. The scenery is pretty though……You can tell this is one of the older maps despite being a DLC add on – it’s probably on the upgrade list for the future. After all those crossroads, there’s the T-Junction at Iłza where we waited ages for the vehicles in front to move on as they gave way to a seemingly continuous stream of traffic. Once we’d got going again past the ruins of Zamek castle……We were running very late and time was short. Once more we crossed the Vistula, this time at Nagnajów where the road and rail bridges are again faithfully recreated…
From there we found ourselves on better roads for the final run down to Košice. Always up against it, we picked up two 160 euro sleep avoidance fines as we busted our driving hours. For the record, the in-game driving allowance is 11 hours (gameclock) before you must rest. Rest periods are 9 hours if I remember correctly. This is not actually in line with the real world EU driving times but it’s a good compromise. So – you can see that somewhere along the ‘7 hour’ run we burnt over 4 hours. The job itself was only allowing 12 hours so taking a break on route was never a option.
After that I took a load from Košice to Nurnberg. This was a much easier run with no real danger of busting our time. Here we are crossing the Bela River at Dovalovo in the midst of the Tatra mountains……As you can see we’re on a ‘proper’ road 😉 In Nurnberg we found a Volvo dealer and after taking a loan bought our second truck and trailer. The Merc was delivered to Montpellier for me along with the trailer and I hired a driver to use that truck. The new Volvo is something for the next Digest as this one is overly long – until then, don’t overdo the Truckers Breakfasts and make sure you get to bed on time 😉
I’m impressed that you can keep the rules of the road straight, traveling as you do across so many borders. How difficult has it been for you maneuvering on different sides of the road? I would think that to be a significant challenge, but you seem to do quite well!
I’ll answer the second question first Debra. The gas, brake and clutch pedals are the same whether you’re in a LH or RH drive vehicle – right foot for gas and brake; left for clutch. The only thing that changes side is the gearshift. So the adaptation is quite easy. My game controls are set up for LH drive but my car is RH drive and the brain spots that I’m sitting on the other side of the cab and automatically knows which side of the road we should drive on. Driving a European configured truck in the UK requires a lot of looking across the width of the cab to the RH mirror but otherwise it’s not too hard. Now if you want hard, try driving a UK configured truck with my LH Drive game controls – That really does confuse the brain 😉
The rules of the road are not too difficult either. There is overarching European law which standardises road signs such as speed limits, give way and stop signs. That right of way sign in Poland is exactly the same as ones that I would see in England – the only difference is the background color which would be white over here. Interestingly there is also a priority sign which is a yellow square on a white square – if you see those you have priority over traffic joining your road. If you see the same sign with 3 black bars across it then you no longer have priority and should give way. Individual countries can then set their rules with the knowledge that the drivers should be able to understand what is required by the signs they see. It’s a bit like Federal Law and State Law in the US.
Hope this simplified overview helps Debra 🙂