When you’re driving something so big, it can be easy to forget just how dangerous the roads can be, especially in winter. But all across the country, people are depending on you to deliver their Christmas presents in time for Santa, so you need to make sure you reach your destination safely. To help you navigate the tricky roads this December, we have 5 safety tips to keep your HGV on the road.
Be Prepared For Anything
It’s the winter months when the Scouting motto (always be prepared) really comes into its own. As a HGV driver, you will be on the roads pretty much constantly, and so it’s important for you to be ready for anything. Particularly because our good old English weather can turn without a moments notice. A well prepared river will always have an emergency pack on hand, which will include at least:
- De-icer or an ice scraper
- A shovel and a bag of salt
- Jump leads
- A torch
- A high visibility jacket and hazard triangles
- A warm blanket and warm, dry clothes
- Long life food and water
- At least half a tank of fuel at all times
Adjust Your Vehicle Checks
If you’re following the rulebook, you should be doing the standard set of vehicle checks every time you go our in your HGV. But when the weather starts to turn cold, you will need to adjust what your checks include. Still carryout all of your standard checks, but make sure you’re also including:
- Tyres for wear, pressure and balance
- Battery power and charging system
- Windscreen wipers are working and free from ice and snow
- Fluid levels are topped up
- Lights are fully functional
- Exhaust to ensure it’s clear of snow, ice or debris build up
- Defrosters, to ensure they’re all working
Stay Up To Date On The Weather
Given that you spend 99% of your working time on the roads, keeping a weather eye on the horizon should be part f your normal routine. But when the weather is bad and could change at any second, you need to be aware of it. Make sure you check the weather before you set off – not just for your current location, but your destination and anywhere in the middle as well. Have a reliable weather app installed on your phone and make sure you have enabled push notifications, you will know right away if something changes.
This goes without saying, but you should also adjust your driving style when it’s bad out. Even in the weather looks clear, there could still be ice on the roads that can cause a real problem for a vehicle as big as yours. Wet, compacted leaves for one, patches of ice, sudden rains and more can cause serious accidents. In fact, 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during the winter months. So make sure you are driving slower, allowing extra space between vehicles, and driving smoothly on the roads.
Know When You Need To Stop
No matter how tight your schedule is, sometimes the safest thing to do is stop driving. Even if your company is very strict on delivery times, you shouldn’t put yourself and other motorists in danger by staying on the road. But that doesn’t mean you should just stop dead. If the weather conditions are so severe you don’t feel comfortable driving, don’t stop on the hard shoulder. This will just increase your chances of being hit due to low visibility. Instead, drive on to the nearest petrol station or services and wit there until the weather improves.
At The HGV Training Centre, all of our new drivers are well trained to drive in all conditions. Our extensive training programme includes not only the basic checks and safety procedures, but a lot of experience based teaching around driving in bad weather, and how to ensure you still make your deliveries safely. For more information, or to book your own training, just get in touch today.