Last month you sent in your questions for DAF Driver Trainer and Press Trucks Demonstrator, Mandy Wannerton. Thanks to everyone who got in touch, Mandy really enjoyed reading through your questions.
So here are our top questions with answers from Mandy in our first edition of Ask Mandy.
1. Paul Metcalfe - I've just bought a FAX CF 400 with a mixer body on which is on a mix of motorway and round town work. I worked at a DAF dealership for 14 years so would like to hope I have half a clue how to get the best out of the product but currently I can't get more than 60% on the driver score. What is your advice for improving my score?
I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised with the fuel economy, after having it Lasaligned it's returning around 7mpg which is good for a mixer against my 53 plate FAD which only ever managed 5.5mpg. I've attended a SAFED course a few years ago and I'm aware of keeping momentum and using the gears to slow vehicle down along with the exhaust brake. But I just can't get past 60% on the driver score on the instrument panel which is driving me a bit stir crazy. Any advice on improving my driving and my score will be gratefully received.
Mandy: Hi Paul, sounds to me like you know your stuff. I take it the 60% is your total?
One way to improve the overall score is to come off the throttle or cruise control and allowing the truck to ‘coast’ in gear for a period BEFORE activating the exhaust brake or service brakes. So, come off the gas, or cancel cruise, using the steering wheel mounted switch before engaging the exhaust brake and if you need more braking rather than trimming back the speed using the footbrake simply downshift when the needle on the rev counter is in the split green and before it drops off into the solid green. It’s fine for this downshift to take you up into the blue band and it means using the service brakes less. All of this is good for anticipation and braking scores which in turn has a positive effect on your total score.
2. Gary Stratfull - Hi Mandy, can you tell me if you are doing the DAF Driver Challenge again this year?
Mandy: Hi Gary, we don’t have any plans for a challenge this year, but we will see more DAF Driver Challenges in the future. Hope you’re getting ready for it and testing yourself with you DPA?
3. Jill Ellis - Do the drivers you train go on a cyclist awareness courses?
Mandy: Hi Jill, the drivers and trainers who come and spend time with us here at DAF Thame are primarily learning about how to get the best out of their DAF trucks. The type of training you’re referring to is often done through their employer. Some employers are also involved with ‘Exchanging Places’ programmes where drivers get out on their bikes whilst cyclists get to sit in the truck to get a better understanding of what the driver can see.
4. John Macritchie - Hi Mandy, can you supply video materials that could be used for training new drivers in the use of DAF trucks, that also could be used when inducting drivers when handing over new DAF trucks to current employees?
Mandy: Hi John, all our training materials are now available on https://www.dafblog.co.uk/videos/training/ as well as on the MyDAF app. Are you a trainer yourself John? If so we will be able to provide you with ‘Train The Trainer’ training here at DAF.
5. Darren Birkin - We need a bigger engine to keep up if the competition. We have the best cab we just need some grunt. Are there any plans to address this?
Mandy: Hi Darren, whilst a bigger engine sounds like a great idea, we have to weigh to pros and cons. A bigger engine can cost more, weigh more and burn more fuel, and so unless the job necessitates it won’t make sense for most operators. And with our current 510hp engine the DAF is well on top of the job.
6. Duncan - What is the sweep area of the radar in the front panel please?
Mandy: Hi Duncan, the sweep area of the radar is 62-degrees (top-down) and 14.4-degrees (side-on). Here’s a small diagram which may help.
7. Duncan - When the "AEBS" operates does it give 100% braking force?
Mandy: Hi Duncan, AEBS doesn’t give full braking straight away. At first there is an audible warning and then a short, sharp application of the brakes, designed to bring your attention to the road ahead. After that, if the driver doesn’t take any evasive action, AEBS will bring in a high level of braking effort designed to slow the truck safely. The braking effort is controlled to give a certain maximum deceleration, as we wouldn’t want to risk the load shifting or cause vehicles to run into the back.
8. William - When I put the digi-card in I put the Cross Hammers on for walk round checks, when the driver gets to my drop the tacho is on Cross Hammers, knocking the ignition off, it then it goes to break mode. I then have to reset it for Cross Hammers. Can this be sorted to stay on Cross Hammers until I need to go on break? Thanks, William
Mandy: Hi William, yes it can, depending on the make and age of the tacho this can be done either at a calibration centre or via the built in menu.
9. Steven Jones - Hi Mandy, can you tell me why there seems to be what looks like coat hooks about 10 inch above the bottom bunk on the 85 sleeper cab? If they're not coat hooks what are they for? Thanks in anticipation.
Mandy: Hi Steven, these are indeed hooks…you can use it for your coat, hat, washbag or whatever else you want.
10. Thomas Turnbull - How come the gearbox changes up before you have enough speed for the engine to cope?
Mandy: Hi Thomas, unfortunately I’m not able to answer this question without more information about your truck and current operation. If you’d be able to get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter I’ll be happy to answer.