Operating heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) presents a wide range of career opportunities that are both financially rewarding and filled with adventure. As an HGV driver, you have the chance to travel and explore different places while contributing to the economy through the transportation of goods. With these numerous benefits, it’s no surprise that HGV jobs are increasingly in demand.
However, it is crucial for drivers to prioritize safety when operating HGVs, ensuring not only their well-being but also the safety of fellow road users. Below are some essential driving safety guidelines for HGV operators:
1. Stay alert and anticipate the actions of other drivers
Driving an HGV is a demanding job with significant responsibilities. When you’re in control of an HGV, it’s essential to prioritize the safety of both yourself and others on the road. To achieve this, you must remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
Be diligent and constantly scan the road, making sure to check your mirrors and assess the situation before making any manoeuvres, such as turning or changing lanes. Avoid distractions that could compromise your focus, like using your phone, eating, or playing loud music. In case of emergencies, be familiar with the appropriate safety measures to protect everyone involved.
2. Take breaks regularly to prevent fatigue
It’s widely known that driving while fatigued is dangerous, but many HGV drivers still fail to take the necessary steps to prevent it. It is vital for HGV operators to take breaks whenever they feel tired and ensure they are well-rested before embarking on long trips. Fatigue is a significant concern for HGV drivers for several reasons, including the size and weight of the vehicles, which demand intense concentration to operate safely. Drivers who have received HIAB training are also required to operate heavy machinery that is part of their HGV which takes a lot of concentration so breaks are essential to ensure ongoing safety. Additionally, HGV drivers often work long hours and may be required to drive during nighttime, making it even more challenging to stay alert.
3. Ensure your cargo is securely fastened and evenly distributed
It’s crucial for HGV drivers to guarantee that their loads are properly secured and balanced. Unstable loads can lead to severe consequences, including reduced vehicle control, increased fuel consumption, and potential damage to axles or tires due to irregular weight distribution.
To ascertain that a load is appropriately balanced, HGV operators should be meticulous during the loading and unloading processes. They should inspect the weight distribution of each item to avoid any issues while on the road. It’s also vital for drivers to know their vehicle’s cargo capacity by referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines or local regulations.
4. Maintain your vehicle in optimal condition
Both HGV drivers and their employers are accountable for ensuring that their commercial vehicles are well-maintained and in excellent working order. Proper vehicle maintenance is not only crucial for safe operation but also for preventing expensive repairs and reducing downtime during long journeys.
Routine maintenance checks should be conducted before embarking on a trip, covering essential aspects like oil and coolant levels, tire pressure and wear, brake fluid levels, the functionality of headlights and indicators, fuel tank and filter conditions, battery charge levels, and other relevant components of the vehicle. Additionally, it’s important to keep records of these checks and ensure they are up-to-date.
A well-maintained vehicle is more likely to perform optimally under various driving conditions, which can contribute to reducing the occurrence of road traffic accidents involving HGVs.
Overall, driving an HGV can be an exciting and rewarding career, offering numerous advantages like financial stability, job security, and opportunities for travel. However, safety must always be a top priority for HGV drivers, which can be achieved through constant vigilance, taking breaks to avoid fatigue, securing and balancing loads, and maintaining the vehicle in prime condition. By following these guidelines, HGV drivers can contribute to safer roads for everyone.