Long distances are the greatest challenge facing Brian Thomas, who manages RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance’s Horsham region.
Do a professional job for RACV members, and you can serve for a long time. Wilson Bolton took over RACV road service in Horsham in the 1920s – I joined the company 51 years ago and am now managing director.
We live with the tyranny of distance for almost 3000 callouts a year. We range west to the South Australian border, halfway to Dimboola on the Western Highway, east to Murtoa, southeast to Balmoral and the Rocklands Reservoir.
For the members who are a long way out we talk with them to find out what their needs are, and whether to send a patrol or a tow truck.
It can be “Horsham or bust” for some Melbourne drivers. Most callouts are to long-distance travellers, and summer temperatures take a toll on cars. Quite a few of the folk who belt up the 300km from Melbourne have to call on us. We have the support of tyre companies and auto electricians offering 24/7 support.
Location is another problem, it’s a big area and if an RACV member can let us know any landmarks they have seen on the journey, even if they think they’re unimportant, it can help us pinpoint them.
Some drivers just run out of fuel, puzzled because they had filled up in Melbourne. With service intervals perhaps every 15,000 kilometres, because modern cars are so reliable some drivers haven’t used the bonnet latch in months.
The complexity of auto electronics and computing can make diagnosis difficult. Even replacing a lost key can involve waiting around until the next day. If you have to wait overnight for your spare part, Horsham is a great place. I can recommend the golf courses.