As an HGV driver, your role is crucial to keeping our economy turning. However, with great responsibility comes great caution. Operating an HGV demands a unique set of skills, knowledge and attentiveness. With their sheer size and weight, these vehicles require extra care and caution to navigate through busy highways and country lanes. As any seasoned HGV driver knows, the challenges on the road are diverse and ever-present, so constant vigilance is a must.
In this article Fleet Insurance specialists, Bluedrop Services, delve into some valuable tips for HGV drivers:
Table of Contents
Regular vehicle inspections
Before setting off on any journey, make it a habit to thoroughly inspect your vehicle. Check the brakes, lights, tyres, and fluid levels to ensure everything is in perfect working condition. Proper maintenance reduces the risk of breakdowns and ensures the safety of both you and other road users.
Check the weather conditions
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and the weather can significantly impact traffic conditions and visibility on the road. Stay informed about weather forecasts before starting your journey so you can adapt your driving style to the conditions. When driving in adverse weather like wind, rain and snow, slow down and exercise caution – even a slight drop in visibility can increase the risk of accidents.
Take adequate breaks
Long-haul journeys can be physically and mentally demanding. If you are feeling tired, pull over at a safe location and take a break. It’s important to ensure that your safety and well-being come first, so take a break, get some rest, and be sure to stay alert so that you can remain safe on your journey. Even a short nap or some physical activity can help you feel refreshed.
Be aware of blind spots
There are several blind spots around HGVs that cannot be observed directly through the mirrors. These spots can hide other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians, and lead to potential collisions. Always double-check your mirrors and physically turn your head to check for blind spots before changing lanes or making turns. If the blind spots can’t be seen, then it is best to wait until it is safe to move.
Protect your cargo
Securing your cargo isn’t just about adhering to regulations; it’s about road safety too. Loading and securing cargo properly can prevent it from shifting during transit, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring a smoother journey. Taking the time to properly secure your cargo will also help maintain the condition of the items, meaning that they arrive at their destination in the same condition they left.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. So keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and avoid using your phone or any other form of distraction while driving. It is extremely important to stay alert and attentive while driving to avoid any unnecessary incidents.
Check the height of your HGV
Check the height of your HGV before starting your journey, especially if you’re transporting goods on unfamiliar routes. Different routes may have varying clearance heights, and it’s your responsibility to ensure your vehicle can safely pass through them. When you come across low bridges, tunnels or buildings, be extremely cautious. Many accidents involving HGVs and bridges result from drivers underestimating their vehicles’ height.
Maintain a safe distance
Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you so you have time to react if needed. This space is vital for avoiding collisions and responding to unforeseen events. As an HGV driver, it’s important to recognise that your vehicle’s size and weight require a longer stopping distance, especially when traveling at higher speeds or carrying a heavy load.
Be mindful of others on the road
HGVs share the road with a variety of vehicles, including smaller cars and vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. Stay patient and give the appropriate amount of space to other road users, especially when making turns, to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone sharing the road.
Communicate with other drivers
Make sure to use your signals and lights when necessary, as this will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands each other’s intentions. Develop good driving habits so that other drivers can anticipate your actions.
Applying these tips to your daily driving routine will not only enhance your skills as an HGV driver but also improve your level of professionalism and responsibility. By consistently engaging in safe driving habits, you’re not only protecting yourself and your cargo, but also playing a vital role in creating a safer and more harmonious environment for other road users.