29 September 2021 08:33 Edited
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The woods start immediately behind Roswitha “Rosl” Mederer’s house. In the small village right in the middle of Germany’s Upper Palatinate region, between Nuremberg and Regensburg, it is the opening times of the village shop that dictate the rhythm of life. But not for Rosl: at 6.15 a.m. it’s time for action. Because that is when 57-year old Rosl starts her tours in her Arocs 1851. The “Unterweickenhof” gravel plant is only four kilometres from her home and could just as easily be the film set for a western. “Every time I drive into the quarry, I’m impressed,” Rosl says. She has been on the road for Bärnreuther & Deuerlein for twelve years now. She has just returned with her number “54” and a load of earth from a construction site and is steering the Arocs semitrailer truck through the steep bends to the unloading site.
It’s only a few weeks since Rosl picked up her truck in Wörth – together with a colleague who was also collecting a new truck. Before that she drove an all-wheel drive Actros from an older model series for eight years; it too bore the company-internal vehicle number of 54. But apart from that the Arocs has nothing in common with its predecessor: MirrorCam, all the available safety systems, hydraulic auxiliary drive and PowerShift 3 transmission are all included in the equipment in Rosl’s new workplace.
“At the factory, they made a great job of explaining everything – and on the journey back I had enough time to familiarise myself with everything. I was even pleased with a traffic jam for once,” says Rosl who has been driving trucks since 2009. Before that she worked for an automotive supplier for almost 30 years, but then she had to change professions. “I got my truck driver’s licence. After that you’re allowed to drive a truck, but let’s be honest – I only learned properly on the job,” Rosl reminisces about her early days at Bärnreuther. Even today, after twelve years and hundreds of thousands of kilometres, she doesn’t regret her decision. “I felt right at home here, from the very beginning.”
Rosl drives up to 400 kilometres every day with her Arocs and the thermally insulated tipper semitrailer, usually transporting gravel of various grades, earth and material for forest lining. She also regularly transports tarmac to roadworks in the region. “No matter whether it’s a forest road or the motorway, it’s fun to see how a road is built bit by bit and that with every load you’re able to contribute to that.”
Whenever her tours allow, she takes her break in her village. At lunchtime it gets very busy in the village shop where she lives. You can buy a hearty sandwich there. “I don’t spend my breaks in the truck, that is important to me,” says Rosl. After a brief chat with the shop owner, she sets off to take 32-millimetre gravel to the roadworks.
Driving on construction sites requires full concentration. The job needs to be done quickly in the short time window. And access to the site isn’t always easy. Accordingly the numerous assistance systems such as Sideguard Assist are important to her to keep stress to a minimum on the journey back and forth.
“This is the first truck where I don’t have to change gears myself. Together with the cruise control I am much more relaxed now when I get home,” says Rosl glancing at the latest generation of Predictive Powertrain Control. However, MirrorCam took a bit of getting used to initially. “I was a bit sceptical until the system was explained to me properly. It’s important that you accept it fully and forget the idea that you have to operate the cameras just like a mirror,” says Rosl, who has now become a fan of the additional system functions.
After the last tour of the day, it’s important for Rosl to clean the interior of the Arocs. “During the day you can’t avoid the dirt completely, so I’m not so picky then. But in the morning I like to climb into a clean truck,” she explains. Her old number “54” is proof that this approach to caring for the truck isn’t wrong. The Actros built in 2011 is still in such good condition that it was kept in the fleet – and was converted into a workshop vehicle.
Photos: Matthias Aletsee
Video: Martin Schneider-Lau