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Drive Safe This Winter With These Top Tips

HGV Training Centre

It’s that time of year again. As we enter into ‘true winter’, the roads start to ice up, the air gets colder and the roads start to become more dangerous. We’ve even had a few flakes of snow already this year! All of this makes driving in general a hazardous pursuit, but it’s even more so for a HGV driver carrying a heavy load. And since our goal isn’t just to get you to pass your test, but to deliver safely too, we have a few tips to keep you driving safe this winter.

Get Your HGV Winter Ready

The first thing you need to do is give your HGV some winter prep. If you’ve not had your vehicle checked over in a while, then you should book it for a health check and general MOT. Make sure you test your brakes to ensure they’re working properly and stopping quickly enough, and be sure to check all of your bulbs and fluid levels (particularly anti-freeze). Once you’re sure that the inner workings are in tip-top shape, you just need to do some pre-journey checks every time you go out. Make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition with no damage, that your tyres are fully inflated and you always have more than half a tank of petrol.

Prepare For Anything

Once you have your HGV sorted, it’s time to prepare yourself. Grab yourself a nice big bag and pack yourself an emergency kit. Think through any emergency situation you could get into, from sitting in traffic caused by bad weather for 12+ hours to getting stuck in a snow drift. A few things you should include are:

  • Warm winter clothes
  • A raincoat
  • Gloves, scarf and hat
  • A torch with extra batteries
  • A blanket
  • Sone non-perishable foods (protein and breakfast bars are great for this)
  • A bottle of water
  • A first aid kit
  • De-icer and windscreen scraper

Remember, this list doesn’t include everything – just the essentials. Think about the kinds of things you would need included, and chuck them in the bag. When you’re done, put it safely in your cab. This bag will live in there until the weather thaws and you don’t need the precaution anymore.

Practice Safe Driving

Now that you and your vehicle are both ready, it’s time to drive. The best way to stay safe on the roads in winter is generally to be careful, be aware and don’t do anything rushed or rash. There isn’t a magic formula that will keep you safe – it’s common sense and experience. That said, you should also remember:

  • Slow is key: The weather and the conditions are unpredictable in the winter, and you need to be able to react to them without causing any damage. That means slow and steady in everything you do. For one thing, your tyres won’t have as much traction in cold weather (thanks to ice and sleet), so you will need more distance to stop than usual.
  • Avoid sudden stops: It’s all too easy to stomp on the brake at the last minute, but during winter that’s a really bad idea. Instead, you want to focus on braking gradually, giving yourself more space in front and behind.
  • Keep an eye out for black ice: This is one of the most dangerous things on the road, and it’s all too easy to be caught out by it. Keep your eyes open and scanning the rod surface for black ice patches, and avoid them when you can.
  • Check your windscreen: If you spot ice building up on your antennae or in the top corners of your windshield, then the conditions are ideal for black ice to start forming.

At The HGV Training Centre, we don’t want to just get you through a test. We want to make sure you’re the best driver you can be, come rain, shine or snow. And part of that is instilling the fact that safe driving is 90% precaution and 10% quick thinking, so always plan ahead for the weather, and teach yourself as much as possible about the weather conditions you’re facing and how to handle them. We help aspiring drivers learn all of this and more through our training courses. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch with the team today.

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