Driving of Heavy goods vehicles are often seen as one of the most dangerous jobs a person can have. The hours are long, and the roads you drive on are often narrow and windy with blind spots around every corner; this is not even mentioning all the other potential hazards that come with driving a lorry each day.
While there are inherent risks to working in this industry, it doesn’t mean that drivers can’t take precautions to stay safe. There are many benefits if you get HGV driver training in the UK. Here we look at some tips for HGV drivers to stay protected and be safe on the job:
Be aware of your blind spots
While every driver needs to be aware of their blind spots, this is even more relevant for HGV drivers. This is because the size and design of the vehicle mean you have larger blind spots than other vehicles. You should know your blind spots at junctions, roundabouts, and driving close to other vehicles.
Be wary of other drivers
While it’s important to be wary of your driving, it’s also crucial to be aware of other drivers on the road, as they are the ones you can’t necessarily control. Look out for drivers driving aggressively, driving too quickly or not paying attention. For example, drivers overtaking you might be unaware of your presence and pose a risk to you. At the same time, HGV drivers should be particularly wary of other road drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
Don’t overload your vehicle.
While it’s understandable that you want to make the most of your weekly deliveries, it’s important to avoid overloading your vehicle. Overloading your vehicle risks you, other road users, and pedestrians. This can potentially be fatal if you are in an accident, as your vehicle may not be able to withstand the impact.
Keep your brakes in top condition.
Your brakes are one of the most important safety features of your vehicle. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the condition of your brakes to ensure you can stop in an emergency. You can check the condition of your brakes by inspecting their rotors, pads and drums. If you notice your brake pads are wearing down quickly or your car is experiencing a delay in slowing down, it’s important to have them checked as soon as possible. Remember that every vehicle’s braking system is different, so you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when checking your brakes.
Use seat belts and crash cushioning while driving
Regarding staying safe on the road, seat belts and crash cushioning are essential. It’s important to wear a seat belt when driving in your HGV. This is because your seat belt can save your life in an accident. Remember that your seat belt should be used with your crash cushioning. This is important because your seat belt won’t protect you from all impacts. Your crash cushioning is designed to absorb the impact of the collision, which is why it’s important not to skimp on quality when purchasing this equipment.
Check your tyres, suspension and lights regularly
Just like you would with a car or a van, you must check the condition of your tires regularly. This is because tyres that are worn down, under-inflated or have bulges or tears can pose a serious safety risk. Remember that different types of tyres need to be replaced at different times. For example, winter tyres need to be replaced between October and March. Similarly, you must check your suspension regularly. If your suspension is damaged, it can result in an accident. Similarly, your lights are a vital safety feature of your vehicle. Make sure they are always in working order and are the correct type.
Know your routes
If you regularly drive on the same routes, it’s a good idea to have them all committed to memory to navigate them quickly and safely. This is particularly relevant if you drive in the dark or during inclement weather conditions at night.
Stay fit and healthy to protect yourself on the road
While driving is a demanding job, you must stay fit and healthy to ensure that you can cope with this. Be sure to take as many breaks as you need during your shift and make sure you are eating healthily. Avoid eating while driving, and be hydrated at all times. Remember that regular exercise can help relieve stress, sleep better, and lower your risk of heart disease.
Being in a rush, anxious and stressed can be a major factor in accidents occurring on the road. Therefore, taking time to relax and enjoy the view when driving is important. This way, you can avoid driving too quickly, driving too close to other vehicles and being gripped by road rage. If you are interested in becoming an HGV driver, you can look at our dedicated page and find out everything you need to know.