Driving heavy goods vehicles (HGV) around Britain in winter can be challenging. The increased rainfall intensity and plummeting temperatures don’t help the situation either. HGV drivers have to embark on long trips across the country, delivering goods to some of the remotest parts of the country. Such requires lots of experience, patience, and technical know-how to handle the brutal winter weather and undrivable icy roads. Here are a few simple tips and tricks on how to make your HGV winter driving less challenging and safer. Don’t forget to get your HGV licence if you’re thinking of starting a career as an HGV driver.
Speed isn’t your friend during winter. With gusts of strong winds, fog, snow, ice, and rainfall, it would be best to drive at modest speeds even when the road seems clear. Although you might be on deadlines, arriving a few hours late would be better than getting your truck in a ditch or rolled over. Driving at a slower but steady speed will help you arrive on time and in one piece. According to statistics, 22% of accidents recorded in the UK result from inclement weather, with 11% of these caused by speeding.
Keep Your Distance
The wet and often icy roads can be tricky to drive on, especially when hauling heavy loads. The slippery roads make stopping even more challenging, even when driving at lower speeds. The only way to avoid rear-ending other vehicles is to keep a safe distance between you and them.
Always Prepare for Winter Driving
The winter weather can be pretty unpredictable, a reason HGV drivers need to be extra careful when planning their trips. Planning and preparing well for each trip is the way to go. It would be best if you prepared for winter truck driving by:
- Fuelling up: Always make an effort to top up your tank before setting off for a trip. Chances are the truck will consume much more in winter than it does in warmer weather. The additional fuel is also a safety measure to ensure you have enough fuel for heat in case the truck breaks down.
- Ensure the heater works well
- Make sure all lights are working, visible, and clean.
- Top up your fluids
- Make sure all windows and mirrors are clean
- Check tyre pressure
- Check for your roadside assistance kit
- Check the engine oil and anti-freeze levels
- Ensure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked
- Check the condition of your batteries
- Plan for the trip: Check traffic warnings and weather on your planned route.
Bring A Winter Survival Kit
Vehicles break down all the time during winter. It is thus advisable to bring a winter survival kit with you on every trip. The kit will come in handy should you get stuck in the middle of nowhere or in the event of a breakdown.
Get Lots of Rest
The winter weather has a way of taking a toll on everyone’s alertness and overall body performance. According to research, 97% of us feel tired and restless in winter, requiring us to take plenty of rest. The same applies to truck drivers, another reason you should consider resting after several hours of driving. Be sure to get as much sleep as you can to avoid causing an accident.
Use Good Judgment
Proper judgment and decision-making are essential when driving across Britain in winter. It entails discerning when to continue driving and when to stop to let the storm pass. Tyre spray patterns are often excellent indicators of changing weather, something you ought to keep an eye on. It is with proper judgment that you’ll survive winter driving and still be able to deliver goods as required.