Essential Advice for Novice HGV Drivers

As a newly licensed HGV driver, passing your tests is an exciting accomplishment. Congratulations on embarking on a professional journey in this field. Like any profession, there will be a learning curve, but with time and experience, you will continue to improve. However, it’s essential to recognize that despite being new to this role, you can still benefit from the valuable insights gained by those who came before you. Therefore, we would like to offer you five essential tips specifically designed for first-time HGV drivers. If you want to start a career as an HGV driver, take expert CPC training from an established provider in your area.

Be Prepared

Proper and extensive preparation plays a vital role in the success of HGV drivers. Although it may seem like the job mainly involves driving from one place to another, the reality is that there are numerous factors that can cause complications, last-minute changes, or unexpected issues. However, by dedicating sufficient time to meticulous planning for each journey, the likelihood of being unprepared is greatly reduced. This entails considering not just the starting and ending points of the journey, but also taking into account rest stops, refuelling needs, alternative routes in case of accidents or heavy traffic, and any necessary stops along the way. Utilising apps can prove valuable in aiding the planning process and ensuring that you are always well-prepared.

Stay Hydrated

If you aspire to become a competent HGV driver, it is imperative to prioritise self-care. While this may seem unusual, it is vital for your well-being. Staying hydrated is crucial for human survival, as dehydration can lead to various issues such as fatigue, lightheadedness, and a decline in alertness. These consequences can have detrimental effects on HGV drivers while on the road. To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to invest in a large, reusable water bottle and carry it with you in your cab at all times. Remember to refill it whenever necessary and sip water consistently throughout the day, even before feeling thirsty. It is also recommended to limit your consumption of carbonated drinks and coffee, as excessive intake can disrupt your sleep pattern and contribute to further dehydration.

Ensure Your Vehicle’s Height is Within Optimal Range

One common mistake made by inexperienced HGV drivers is attempting to navigate their vehicle through a narrow space that is too small for it. This frequently occurs at bridges and has resulted in numerous photographs circulated online, along with frustration from community members who have to find alternative routes due to a blocked bridge. It is the responsibility of HGV drivers to prioritise safety, avoiding accidents and damage to their own vehicles as well as others’ property, including council-owned assets. Therefore, it is crucial for drivers to be knowledgeable about the dimensions, such as height and weight, of the vehicle they are operating and to make appropriate decisions accordingly. In case of any doubts regarding the suitability of a gap, it is advisable not to attempt to pass through it.

Take Breaks

Your employer will consistently remind you about the mandatory breaks you must take during each shift, ensuring that these breaks adhere to a specified duration. It is crucial to pay attention and comply with these breaks. We understand the temptation to work through them, especially when facing time constraints or tight deadlines. However, it is important to note that without breaks, you will experience fatigue, impacting your ability to perform your job effectively. Moreover, not adhering to these breaks can lead to legal consequences for both you and your employer, as they are legal requirements. Therefore, when it is time for your break, ensure that you stop your work, take a break, and engage in activities like walking, stretching, and even having a cup of coffee. If you find yourself feeling drowsy while driving, do not hesitate to take a break.

Communication Is Key

As a knowledgeable audience, it is crucial to recognize the importance of maintaining communication as a HGV driver. While the nature of the job can lead to feelings of loneliness, it is essential to regularly connect with various parties, including the traffic office, end clients, and those responsible for organising pick-ups and drop-offs. By investing time in cultivating good relationships, you can significantly enhance the efficiency of your work. Simple practices such as notifying them in case of delays and keeping the traffic officer informed about any potential issues can greatly contribute to a smoother workflow. Remember, even a small amount of effort in this aspect can yield substantial benefits.