In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of accidents and road incidents that can be traced back to long-haul drivers. Reports from investigators show that most of these accidents could easily have been prevented if the proper precautions were taken by the drivers of long-haul vehicles. Looking to ensure your own safety and that of other road users? Below are 7 safety tips to follow as an HGV driver. And if you need to take an HGV training, be sure to check out Surrey & Hampshire HGV Training.
1. Don’t Drive Continuously – Take Breaks!
The number one safety rule for all long-haul drivers is to take breaks periodically. Driving continuously will induce tiredness which will not only put you at risk and also other people. As an HGV driver, you may be required to be on the road for a specific number of hours which means that you should map out rest spots along your route.
The amount of time that you should spend on breaks will vary depending on the job. On average, try to take a break for 15 -30 minutes after driving every 3 -4 hours. These breaks will help you remain alert and improve your reaction time when driving.
2. Map Out Your Route
When delivering goods, ensure that you first understand the best route to get to your destination. Ensure that your satellite navigation or navigation app is operating properly to avoid getting lost.
Additionally, ensure that you understand the expected weather patterns along your route and how they will affect your ETA.
3. Ensure That Your Loads Are Properly Secured
Never embark on a journey before making that your loads are properly secured. No matter how great you are behind the wheel, if you have ensured loads, you run the risk of losing or damaging what you are carrying – and even worse. Further, avoid overloading your vehicle. It is better to drive with a vehicle that is not packed to capacity than an overloaded one.
4. Inspect Your Vehicle & Carry Out the Necessary Maintenance
As a professional HGV driver, you should ensure that you carry out daily checks on your vehicle. This means ensuring that everything is functioning properly before going on the road. Ensure that you check the state of crucial components such as your tyres, suspension, and braking systems. Remember that driving in an unroadworthy vehicle is an offence that is punishable by law.
5. Avoid Distractions
Avoiding distractions is a rule that applies to all drivers but it is especially important for HGV drivers. Avoid things that can distract you as you are driving such as your smartphone. For example, you should not text or receive calls when you are behind the wheel. Remember that even the smallest distractions can result in catastrophic accidents.
6. Avoid Tailgating Other Vehicles
Any HGV driver should have a clear and in-depth understanding of the Highway Code. One rule for all drivers is to ensure that they maintain the appropriate distance between themselves and other drivers in the same lane (the vehicle in front and the one in the rear). It is important to avoid tailgating since the driver ahead or at the rear can decide to brake suddenly. If you are tailgating and this happens, it can result in an easily avoidable accident.
7. Do Not Exceed Speed Limits
As a long-haul driver, it is understandable that you have deadlines to meet. However, no matter your deadlines, do not Overspeed. If you map out your route ahead of time and also plan for interruptions that may occur during your journey, there will be no need for you to overspend in order to arrive on time.