Tips for new HGV licence holders on the road
Fleet operators have a constant need for recruiting HGV drivers to fill roles in an increasingly demanding sector. With more and more drivers qualifying every week, it may be relatively easy to find somebody to take on a vital job.
However, for many newly qualified drivers it’s important to be aware of numerous factors that make up a typical day on the road. If you’ve taken on any drivers who have recently got their HGV licence, it can be useful to remind them of the following tips.
Plan your journey ahead
Before starting a new journey, prepare for it in advance right down to the tiniest detail. From a full list of directions to noting rest stops and fuelling stations along the way, extensive planning will reduce the risk of you being caught out by low bridges or narrow roads.
Make sure you know the size of your vehicle (and trailer if using one) before you set off, as this will allow you to continue your journey without getting stuck. Try not to just rely on details marked inside the vehicle’s cab, which may not always be totally accurate.
Additionally, a trucking sat-nav can help to keep you on track and avoid any areas unsuitable for large vehicles. Try not to depend solely on the technology, though, as it may not always be totally reliable.
Always stay alert
During any job, you’ll be surrounded by other motorists going about their daily journeys too. As you’ll generally want to go a bit slower, other drivers will often try overtaking you. It’s helpful to gain more experience on the road so you can better predict other driver’s behaviour in this way.
If you’re transporting cargo, it’s your responsibility to carry it safely from A to B. Make sure that loads are packed tightly and securely fastened before you set off and check up on it during rest stops to ensure nothing has come loose somehow.
Finally, remember that the longer your vehicle, the greater the risk of excessive tail-swing. You need to make sure you’re always in control of the back end of your vehicle, as some manoeuvres like turning at speed can cause the rear to swing out further than you expect.
Keep yourself happy and healthy
Operating a HGV isn’t the only important part of the job. As the driver, you also need to make sure you’re in a fit state to carry out the necessary work. Your job will generally involve long periods of sitting down and being on your own, which can affect both your physical and mental health.
When you’re not behind the wheel, try to exercise regularly to keep yourself physically active. Whether you go for a short walk or light jog at the end of your shift, any activity will help you feeling fit and refreshed.
Take care of your mental state too by taking appropriate rest breaks on journeys and socialising outside of work as much as you can. During your drives, staying entertained with your favourite radio station or a few classic albums can also help to keep your spirits high… just as long as you don’t end up distracted from the road!