Confessions of a PSA heavy vehicle driver: His pet peeve is rude drivers
When driving, Mr Mohammad Hafeizi is king of the road - his vehicle, a 20m-long PSA prime mover that can weigh as much as 110 tonnes, or over four times a tipper lorry, dwarfs all other vehicles.
Many drivers prefer keeping a wide berth before overtaking him quickly, but some challenge Mr Hafeizi, especially when they think he was the one who got in their way.
Says the 32-year-old: "I've had road users flash their headlights or sound their horns impatiently.
"A few have even stuck out rude hand gestures at me."
It is the reason why the prime mover driver of six years reminds himself daily to keep a cool head.
"On the way to work, I remind myself to keep a positive attitude - don't lose your cool because something bad happened," he says.
Most of the time, he ignores the rude drivers. But there were some close calls that could not be ignored or easily forgotten.
Two years ago, he nearly ploughed into a car that had crashed while he was ferrying a container of goods on West Coast Highway in the wee hours of the morning.
The car had crashed into a guardrail right in front of him.
Recalls Mr Mohd Hafeizi: "It was definitely one of the most shocking and scary moments in my life, to see the car smash into the (guardrail) just ahead of me and to suddenly put the brakes on my heavy and long vehicle and stop it completely."
Amazingly, the driver got out of the wreck looking uninjured - that might not have been the case if Mr Hafeizi did not manage to stop in time.
"I was really glad that I was alert even at that early hour," he says.
Mr Hafeizi joined PSA in 2010 as a container handling specialist. The company helped him get Class 3 and 4 driving licences and put him through training sessions to drive a prime mover and transport containers around the port safely.
Today, he is in charge of transporting containers within the port and between terminals via public roads.
He is aware of the criticism levied against heavy vehicle drivers for causing accidents, speeding and driving for long hours with no rest.
PSA drivers have mandated 12-hour shifts that start at 7.30am or 7.30pm.
Mr Hafeizi saying: "For safety reasons, we do not work beyond our shifts, and we get enough days off to rest.
"We have strict rules and procedures, because accidents can occur if people do not follow them."
Still, things do go wrong, such as when their vehicles break down or when drivers pick up the wrong container, he says.
But his main pet peeveis drivers who do not understand his vehicle's limitations.
The most common cause for frustration is when Mr Hafeizi needs to filter to another lane due to road obstructions. Normal vehicles can react quickly, but his requires him to use two of the adjacent lanes.
He explains: "We need to filter across two lanes before we can safely head onto the one next to the obstructed lane. If not, our trailer can still swing out and hit other vehicles behind.
"So I think just a little more understanding and consideration all round - not just for heavy vehicle users but everyone - will go a long way in making the roads a lot safer and more pleasant for all."
SECRETS OF THE TRADE
1. Be patient. Not rushing through work means it is easier to spot a deflated tyre during vehicle inspections. You will also be less likely to drive off with the wrong container.
2. Ensure you have enough rest and stay physically fit. Be alert and ready to react when anything unexpected happens.
3. If you maintain a positive attitude and take pride in "your" vehicle, you can perform better and receive monetary incentives. A driver with a good track record will be assigned a permanent prime mover, rather than a shared one.