Winter can really take its toll on all vehicles, particularly HGV’s and LGV’s. We have compiled some hints and tips on how you can keep yourself and your vehicle in check during the colder months and unpredictable weather that is surely ahead of us.
One of the most important aspects of safety when driving in winter is to check the weather forecast regularly for the entire journey and ensure you are leaving enough time to cover any potential disruption to your journey.
While you’re at it you should also be checking your planned route regularly for traffic updates and information about any accidents that may have occurred due to adverse weather conditions or collisions.
Don’t try and get ahead of the Christmas rush by skipping on vital vehicle checks before you are due to begin your journey, it’s not worth it. Check you have all of the necessary equipment with you and thoroughly check your vehicle in advance. Ensure you’ve got appropriate clothing and blankets for extremely cold and dark conditions – your well-being is the main priority here.
Now that you’re prepped for checking your vehicle no matter the weather, it’s important that you ensure all of your windows, lights, plates and reflective markings, steps and handrails are clear of ice, snow and dirt. You should already be checking your wipers, screen wash and de-misters as part of your everyday check (you’ll also want to avoid jumping down from your cab in wintery weather as there could be an icy trap waiting for you).
Checking the weight of your load is evenly distributed is crucial at this time of year because it can affect your vehicle’s handling. Also remember to adjust your driving after delivering as when your load gets lighter, you could get blown off course with a strong side wind. When your vehicle has a heavier load you have better traction on the road, but too much weight and it will affect your vehicle handling – it’s all about balance in trying weather conditions.
In the case of bad weather conditions, hopefully gritters will will have been out to improve the main A roads but drive with extra care and attention and remember that if your route requires you to take smaller, rural roads you will need to take extra caution as gritters can not always access these locations.
You may be driving one of the biggest vehicles on the road, with lots of sophisticated equipment, but that does not make you invincible – Don’t take risks with your cargo and especially not with your safety.
By sticking to this advice you should be fit to drive in wintery weather conditions as long as you always stay focused and act with extra caution. However, if you don’t feel comfortable driving in the weather conditions, or you feel your vehicle is not prepared for the conditions, find somewhere safe to stop and rest until the conditions improve.