If you’ve just gotten your HGV license, a career on the open road could be a hugely exciting prospect. However, it isn’t without its stresses and pressures due to varying workloads and challenging driving conditions. Whatever part of the country you’re in, each has its share of testing issues, even for the most experienced driver!
Having said that, there are a few nifty tips and tricks we’ve picked up over the years to help things run smoothly and we’d like to share them with you. Check out some of these top tips to prepare you for your new driving career.
Preparation and planning
Perhaps this is one of the most important points when looking at top tips around HGV jobs. Taking the time to map out your route can save you so much time and energy (not to mention fuel) in the long run. You will need to remember to plan rest stops, refuelling and anything else that may be required on your journey.
If you’re new to a job, getting to know routes takes time, and in some cases, Sat Nav’s can take you down wrong roads and dead ends. By taking the time to check out the details of your route before you head out, it will help to relieve any stress or anxiety on your first trips. Plus, you’ll get where you need to be in plenty of time.
As Franklin once said:
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
Check the height of your vehicle
Before you begin your journey, you need to be aware of the height of your vehicle and your trailer. Bridge collisions are a common occurrence with lorries and trailers, as drivers think they can squeeze through. If you’re unsure when you get to a bridge that you weren’t anticipating, it’s not a good idea to just go for it. Lorries getting stuck under bridges can cause severe traffic disruption and will not make you popular with your employer.
Take a break
It’s essential as an HGV driver to be alert at all times; however, you can’t do this if you push your body to the limits. A tachograph will monitor your driving times, and there are set rules that are essential to adhere to. If not followed, you could face major fines and even driving bans. These rules are set in place to help you avoid exhaustion and make the roads safe for everyone.
Make sure to take these breaks at regular intervals to ensure your attention span remains at full capacity whilst on the road. Rest your eyes or get some fresh air, the roads can become dangerous if you are not paying attention.
You wouldn’t drive a car that wasn’t fit for purpose, and the same goes for an HGV. Before you head out on any journey, it’s vital to complete a full vehicle check to ensure its suitable to drive. It is your responsibility to do a physical examination and report anything back to management to ensure it is resolved before you head out on the road.
Be considerate and mindful on the road
It is not just yourself you have to look out for, but you also need to keep a careful watch on your fellow drivers. It is a good idea to learn how to understand when motorists want to overtake you, getting a feel for things like that, and reacting quickly and accurately to other motorists’ actions can be helpful. Always be on guard as to what other motorists may do and be ready to react safely to help avoid accidents. Not everyone is clued up to your blind spots and could easily put themselves in danger around you and your vehicle.
The thing with HGV driving is that you are required to sit for long periods. This can take its toll on your body as well as your mind. When you get the chance, exercise a little. Go for a walk or do some stretching to get the blood flowing. Driving can also have effects on your mental health so ensure you’re taking time out to focus on self-care and fitness to keep on top of your overall health.