Yes, passed my Raleigh driving test!!!!
I now know the difference between my diff lock low, diff lock high and when to use them, although on my test came very close to getting us bogged down and in need of dig out. I can supposedly now cross rivers, climb vertical hills (at least that what it feels like), reverse through jungle, dig/tow another vehicle out of mud, rules about not using winches, change tyres, engine checks plus a whole lot more mundane stuff but all on the wrong side of the road.
The roads in Costa Rica and Nicaragua are mega windy, narrow with no hard shoulders and often with steep drop offs. Potholes are common and manholes typically don’t have covers. Vehicle and road safety is one of Raleigh’s top concerns when it comes to risk assessment and safety. Our instructions as drivers are if any strange noises/something not feeling right to pull over immediately, any problems call into fieldbase; number one rule “no driving at night” – if necessary camp by the side of the road. No chances taken – fieldbase will send a tow truck rather than take the risk. In Raleigh’s 25 years they have had 2 fatalities due to road accidents.
There are four 4-wheel drive landrovers – Bravo 1, Bravo 2, Bravo 3 and 4. Fully kitted out with maps, radios, tools, machete (for jungle clearing/making warning signs), spade to dig ourselves out if necessary, first aid kit, paperwork, tent as basics and then all the gear when fully loaded for project trips.
We are still waiting for Bravo 3 to be returned to fieldbase. Last expedition, due to driver error (using brakes rather than gears for prolonged downhill driving) the brakes overheated and failed, went out of control and rolled on a steep incline. Luckily all 4 people were fine… but the result is a lot more stringent driver tests and training.
All vehicles are checked daily, serviced every 5000km and generally have more care taken of than a new born baby. Vehicles are the responsibility of the logistics team, in our case, Phil is the proud father 🙂