Most car owners know that there is some preventative maintenance that should be done at this time of year. Whether or not that gets done is another matter, but while a car can sometimes get away with missing the winter prep, a lorry or HGV cannot. Instead, you need to make sure you, your routes and your vehicle are all ready and prepared for whatever the winter months can throw at you. Here’s how.
Preparing Your Routes For Change
When you’re driving a vehicle that weighs over 3,500 kilogrammes when it’s empty, you tend to drive like it’s snowing on even the driest, sunniest days. So when the weather does start to turn, you need to be even more careful. When planning out your routes, make sure you know what the weather will be like along the way, if there are road closures or alternate routes you can take if certain roads become blocked. Leave yourself plenty of extra time, so you’re never driving too fast or in a rush to meet your deadlines. Drivers rushing in wintery conditions is a leading cause of accidents at this time of year, so make sure your routes are all prepared for every possibility.
Preparing Your Vehicle For The Cold
Depending on the arrangement you have with your employer or clients, they may provide winter health checks for all vehicles themselves, or they might expect you to get this done. If it is your responsibility, make sure your HGV is booked in right away. We’re past the preparation period and already into the cold weather, with sleet, ice and maybe even snow on the horizon each morning. A basic vehicle winter health check will include checking the engine, breaks, tyre pressures and trends, battery condition, coolant and anti-freeze levels, the condition of your wiper blades and your windscreen, the operation of your washer system and your light bulbs, along with many other things. If the vehicle is being checked by someone else, just make sure you know what you need to do to keep it in shape and what the warning signs are for issues.
Preparing Yourself For Winter Driving
Of course, it’s not just your vehicle that needs a bit of TLC before winter driving. You need to be ready for anything mother nature (or the roads) can throw at you. There is always the risk of getting stuck or stranded overnight, so you should make sure you pack a few extra things into your cab over the colder months. A few things to include would be:
- A shovel to dig you out of snow drifts
- A clean set of warm clothes, including gloves, hat and scarf
- A pair of anti-glare, UV sunglasses to counteract the glare you get from driving in the snow
- A thick blanket
- A mobile phone charger
- Some entertainment
- A strong torch and spare batteries
- A basic first aid kit, hazard triangle and high-vis jacket
- Some non-perishable food and a flask of your favourite hot drink
- Some strong, rough sacking to put under your wheels and give extra traction if you get stuck
At the HGV Driver Training Centre, we are dedicated to providing both new and experienced drivers with up to date training and advice, including tips for driving safely in all weather conditions. For more information, or to book onto one of our HGV training courses, get in touch with us today.