Top Safety Tips For HGV Drivers

1. Give Yourself Breaks

The key to keeping yourself safe on long-distance drives is taking breaks between long sessions. It’s never a good idea to drive while you are tired. When you are tired, you could lose focus and your reaction time suffers. This can put both you and anyone around you at risk. Instead, you want to give yourself a good 15 to 30 minutes to recharge after an extended period of driving while on the road.

The optimal duration you should rest can vary depending on each individual. However, you typically want to give yourself anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of rest per 3 to 4 hours of driving. This can give you plenty of time to rest and recharge your batteries so you can continue driving with complete focus and better reaction time. And if you’re thinking about a career as an LGV driver, be sure that you take comprehensive LGV training first.

2. Map It Out

You need to do some planning before setting out on the road. You want to have your route accurately mapped out when you are looking to minimise distractions and get to where you are going on time. You want to know exactly where you are going and even have a “plan B” if the first route gets detoured. Use your sat nav or a mobile app to get to where you are going. You want to detail the plans beforehand so you know exactly when you have to leave. You also want to plan for any potential weather disruptions. By looking at the weather along your route beforehand, you should be able to tell if you need to account for more time to get to where you’re going.

3. Secure Everything

Don’t start driving before securing your load. While it may seem like a good way to save time, it certainly isn’t. It doesn’t matter how good of a driver you think you are, it’s never a good idea to do this. Driving with an unsecured load is the easiest way to get yourself fired. Not only can you damage the cargo, but you could lose it, or even cause accidents on the road. Ensure that you’ve done everything necessary to strap your load in tight. You also want to avoid overloading it. Consider leaving more space over overloading. Overloading is always going to cause more problems than its worth.

4. Properly Check and Maintain Your Vehicle

If you are going to be an HGV driver, you will need to do both inspections and maintenance. You want to inspect your vehicle as much as possible before setting off on your trip. You should be able to spot things that are wrong with your vehicle and take the necessary steps to correct them. Always check the tyres, ensure your lights are working, ensure your mirrors are properly positioned, and even check your suspension. Ideally, you want to come up with a brief checklist that you can run through before every job. This can give you a good feel for whether or not your vehicle is road ready. You also want to do this to avoid getting any fines while on the road.

5. Avoid Distractions

Getting distracted while on the road can have a devastating impact. Every driver should do whatever they have to do to minimise distractions. You don’t want anything to distract you while driving a heavy truck. Even a brief distraction can be disastrous. One of the main things that are likely to distract you would be your smartphone. Is it necessary to have it positioned in front of you? If you are using it for GPS, it might. If so, try to put it in driving mode. Keep it hands-free. You don’t want to be tempted to use your phone while driving.

6. Avoid Tailgating

You need to know the Highway Code in and out. You must know the rules of the road as a professional driver. One of the key things that you need to follow is the tailgating policy. No driver should tailgate. This is especially important for professional HGV drivers. After all, you are driving large trucks that have increased stopping times. You need to give yourself plenty of distance between you and the driver in front of you to stop safely.

7. Don’t Speed

It should go without saying that you don’t want to speed while on the road. While you may want to ensure your cargo makes it to the destination on time, that doesn’t mean you have to speed to do it. If you put in the necessary time and energy during the planning stage, you should be able to leave with plenty of time to get to the destination without speeding. Leave earlier if you have to. Avoid speeding because it will not only result in a fine, but it could put you and anyone near you in danger while on the road.