Over the years Nukewatch has learned a great deal about the nuclear warhead convoys by following and observing them. Below are some suggestions for making tracking and monitoring easier.
Tracking the convoy with a vehicle
Notice of a convoy coming your way can be very short so always be prepared. Tracking is best done with at least two people in the car; one to concentrate on driving and one to watch and record what the convoy is up to and make the phone calls, so work out in advance who is available to go with you.
- Fuel – Make sure you always have some (preferably a full-ish tank, especially if it’s late at night!)
- Road worthiness – Because of the increased risk of being stopped on a ‘routine vehicle check’ whilst out Nukewatching check your car over for any defects. Obviously you want tyres, brakes and lights in working order, however when the police want to waste time they can start nit-picking about things like whether the number plate had been cleaned that morning!
- Documents -You can carry them with you, but it often avoids delays (if the police stop you) to get a seven day ticket to produce them later. However, if you’re driving a car which is insured but doesn’t mention you by name, it can be useful to have the documents (or a copy of them).
- Road maps
- Camera with charged batteries
- Binoculars if you have them
- Clipboard, paper and pen(s)
- Munchies and something to drink, in case the convoy breaks down, miles from anywhere!
- A mobile phone is essential these days for keeping in touch. Make sure it is always charged or get a car charger, and make sure you have some credit.
- Hands-free set – required by law if you need to make mobile calls while driving alone
- Phone numbers – keep the Regional Contacts list in your car. Store a few essential numbers into your mobile for emergencies. Make sure the person co-ordinating the phone tree has your mobile number too.
Consider putting posters on your car to let other road users know what we are protesting about and help us spot each other. It also makes clear to the police that our intentions are peaceful. A large clear banner is always handy in case the convoy stops somewhere, especially if the local press turn up. Tie strings to the corners so it can be fixed to something and you have your hands free for taking pictures etc. Have leaflets for handing out anywhere.
Monitoring from a roadside vantage point
There are often times when we think a convoy is out, but information is sketchy and we need people to go and look for it. Pick a spot where you can see the road comfortably, ideally from your car. The convoy vehicles usually drive with their lights on, so look out for a lead minibus possibly several miles ahead of the rest of the convoy, (and each vehicle has a single green light at the top of the cab on the drivers side – nothing else on the roads has this). A radio or tape/CD player can help to while away the time without being distracted from the road. Again there is an advantage in having two people, allowing one to take a break.
Recording and reporting in
Keep a note of as much detail as you can: time, location, direction of travel, number of trucks, speed. Phone one of the network contacts as soon as you can after you’ve seen it. If you are on the Nukewatch e-mail list its always useful to pass on a personal account of any information by e-mail when you get home.