When it comes to being a HGV driver, it can seem like there is a lot to remember. But the good thing is, once you’ve learnt it, it all becomes second nature very quickly. But one of the areas that takes a little bit more work is safety. Not of the HGV, or even the theory around safe driving. We’re talking about driver safety when you’re out on the road for long hours, and especially overnight. Because unfortunately, lorries are tempting targets for thieves and gangs, who know that they are full of valuable items. And if you find yourself having to stop in undesirable places overnight, it pays to know how to protect yourself. So, here’s a few tips from our trainers to help keep you safe on long journeys.
Every. Single. Time. So you would normally do your safety checks at the beginning of each journey, but if you’re a long-haul driver, then you should be doing these checks every single time you start out on the road again after a stop. Granted, you don’t need to do the full, intense inspection, but going around your vehicle and making sure everything is as it should be is incredibly important. This is because there are plenty of thieves, gangs or just vandals who might try to tamper with your HGV while you’re asleep, or even while you’ve stepped away from the vehicle into a service station. The most common thing for them to try and do is to pull your fifth wheel lock, which can cause all sorts of problems if you then just try to drive off with it locked. You can mitigate this by pulling your cab forward with the trailer brakes on, creating pressure on the king pin that stops them being able to pull your lock.
If you find yourself spending the night in your cab (as many HGV drivers do), then you need to know how to keep yourself safe while you’re asleep. Of course, the natural thing to do is make sure all of your doors are locked, and you’re parked up somewhere well lit and public to make yourself less of a target. But if you want to make extra sure no one can get into the cab while you’re asleep, there is a little trick you can do. Take your seatbelt, and wrap it around your door handle. Finish the wrap with the buckle facing towards you, pull it tight and plug it into the seatbelt clip. This keeps your door shut tight, so even if your locks fail or someone gets past them, they still won’t be able to open your door. Do this on both doors, and you have a nice, secure cab ready for the night.
Of course, sometimes the worst happens, and you might find yourself the target of a robbery or theft attempt while you’re in the vehicle. If this happens, it’s important to know how to react so that you are as safe as possible. Many people would be tempted to get out of the cab and try to intervene, or to stop the robbery. But we’re here to tell you – it’s not worth it. If you try to get involved you could get hurt (or worse), and no load or even job is worth that. So instead, your best bet is to make yourself safe, and call for help. Stay in your cab, locks all of your doors, turn all of your lights and hazards on so that you are as visible as possible. Then lean on your horn long and hard, to attract the attention of anyone around you. Thieves don’t like attention, and this might be enough to scare them off. Once you are safe, call the police for help, and wait.
We would all like to think the world is a nice place, but some people are not so nice, and sometimes bad things happen. But the best way to avoid that is to be proactive, be cautious, and know what to do in the event of a problem. All of this information is covered in our standard HGV training, so all of our drivers know how to stay safe on the roads during the day, and at night. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today.
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