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6 Tips to Become the Best HGV Driver

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With the shortage of qualified HGV drivers in the UK now reaching a drastic level, the search for skilled professionals has never been greater. Currently, experts predict there’s a shortage of approximately 100,000 qualified drivers in the UK. This presents excellent opportunities for trained experts. Of course, with demand for professionals higher than ever, it’s still important for every driver in the UK drive according to the highest possible standards. 

Once you achieve your HGV certification, you’ll already be on the path to a rewarding career behind the wheel. However, there are additional steps you can take to make yourself into the ultimate HGV employee. Here’s what you need to know to become the best HGV driver. 

1. Proper Planning is Crucial

Taking the time to properly plan your route is crucial as an HGV driver. There are specific rules and regulation which need to be considered depending on where you’re going to be driving, and what kind of vehicle you’ll be operating. With this in mind, taking the time to properly plan your route can save you a lot of time and effort in the long-term. 

Once you know where your journey begins and ends, consider all of the roadways you’ll need to take to reach your destination. Take the time to examine any maps which might be necessary to your travel, and make sure you’re aware of specific hauling regulations and guidelines. 

Not only will proper planning help you to avoid possible fines, legal issues, and problems with navigating narrow streets, but it will also make you faster at completing your jobs. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate your value as an HGV driver.

2. Look After Your Vehicle

Your vehicle is the heart of your career as an HGV driver. If something on your lorry or truck isn’t working as it should be, you could end up stuck on the side of the road, rather than getting work done. Your manager or employer will usually have specific “checks” laid out which need to be completed before any journey begins. Make sure you complete those checks before you start driving

A full physical check is usually essential, which includes examining the wheels, and determining whether any part of your lorry seems to be less than fit for purpose. As you spend more time behind the wheel of your vehicle, you’ll also become more accustomed to determining when something just “isn’t right”. When this happens, seek guidance from your employer.

3. Take Care of Yourself

While most HGV drivers often see their vehicle as being the most valuable asset they’re responsible for, the reality is there’s actually another crucial asset you need to be aware of: yourself. It’s surprisingly easy to forget to take proper care of yourself when you’re on the road in an HGV. If you love driving, this is particularly true, because you may lose track of time.

Although your employer wants you to complete journeys as quickly as possible in most cases, this shouldn’t come at the expense of your safety. With this in mind, remember to regularly take breaks and exercise outside of your truck. Stretch properly, and get off the road when you need to, so you can ensure you remain focused behind the wheel. The longer the distance of your journey, the more important it is to time your breaks properly. Make sure you’re staying safe

4. Know the Details

Before you begin your journey, make sure you’re absolutely sure of all the details which might influence your journey. For instance, if you often move between different vehicles, it might be best to double-check the height of your HGV. There are likely to be various height-restricted areas on your travels – which you might notice when planning your route. Knowing your exact height will ensure you don’t make any dangerous driving decisions. 

It’s also worth thinking about the kind of load you’re going to be driving with. Sometimes, carrying different loads can lead to different experiences on the road. If you know you’re going to have a wider tail swing with some loads than others, it’s important to go into your journey with this information in mind. Double-check your HGV load is properly secured and in good condition before you start the journey. Additionally, make sure you check the load whenever you stop for a break. 

5. Be Mindful as You Drive

As easy as it might be to get lost in your radio when you’re driving for long periods of time in a HGV, it’s important to ensure you remain focused and mindful. Because of the size, structure, and weight of your vehicle, you need to be constantly aware of how your tail is moving, particularly when you’re making tight turns. Make sure you always have enough space around you to avoid hitting anything.

Another aspect of being mindful is watching your good driving practices. Are you obeying the speed laws of the road stringently wherever you go, without driving too slowly? How often do you double-check your HGV load to ensure everything is where it should be? Following best-practice guidelines provided by your employer is crucial here. 

6. Remain Considerate of Other Drivers

Finally, remember, it’s not just yourself and your HGV you need to watch out for on the roads. You also need to keep a close and careful watch on your fellow drivers. There are countless other cars, lorries and vans generally sharing the road with you, and they’re entitled to as much space and safety as you are. Don’t assume you can stop being considerate because you’re in a larger vehicle. 

It’s a good idea to watch out for the motorists around you when you’re on the road and learn as much as you can about the signs they’ll give when they want to overtake you. Getting a sense for these kinds of things and reacting quickly and accurately to the actions of other motorists is important for safety and consistency in your work. 

Be The Best HGV Driver Possible

Becoming the best HGV driver possible ensures you can impress your boss and get the most out of your time behind the wheel., The more you hone your skills and follow the tips above, the more likely you are to attract job opportunities in the future too. 

Start your journey to a fantastic HGV driving career today, with the HGV training centre

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