If you’re stuck for a new hobby to take up as your New Year’s resolution, why not try truck spotting? It’s easier than train or plane spotting, as nearly everyone lives on or near a main road, even if you’re not too close to a train station or airport – and of course you can do it on the move, too.
Why do people love it so much? Well, there are lots of different ways to keep track of the trucks you’ve seen, and it’s very easy to start – you just need to make a note of what you pass the next time you’re out in your car.
You can look out for familiar number plates, perhaps if you see a personalised or branded registration number, or see if you can spot certain makes and models of truck.
Some companies famously make their trucks unique and very easy to recognise, with Eddie Stobart one of the best-known of these. Every Eddie Stobart truck has a woman’s name and the company even made its own truck spotting kits in the past, to encourage people to look out for its lorries on the roads.
Virgin Media have joined in with this craze in more recent years, and if you see one of their vans you should be able to spot a van-themed name (an example might be ‘Rip Van Winkle’ or ‘Jean-Claude Van Damme’) printed over its windscreen.
And in the north-west, scrap metal merchants J Davidson have gone even further, with a fleet of trucks completely covered in imagery from videogames and Hollywood movies including James Bond, Terminator, and festive favourite Die Hard.
You might not spot a name printed over a door or windscreen, but it’s fair to say you can’t miss a laser-eyed Arnie staring back at you from the driver’s door.
The main thing about truck spotting is that it is good simple fun – you can do it anywhere there’s a road, especially if it’s a motorway or a main route for HGVs into or out of your town, and there’s all different things to look out for.
As well as everything mentioned above – names, number plates and artwork – you might want to get technical about it and start to keep track of very specific vehicle characteristics, if your knowledge of HGVs is good enough to spot these from a distance or at speed.
Do you need to record and catalogue every vehicle you see? No, of course not. You can keep a notebook if you choose, so you have something to refer back to, but there’s no set rules on this, and for many people it’s just another reason to look out of the window on a long drive.
In fact, you might actually prefer not to keep a written record. When you’re next out for a drive with the family and you spot a truck you think you’ve seen before, it can be a great conversation-starter, as there’s bound to be debate over when and where you last saw it.