6 Tips to Drive HGVs in Winter

Be prepared

Drivers should carry the proper equipment to deal with all situations that might come their way. You should also check whether the drivers keep the following items in their cabs or not:

● A flashlight
● A shovel and a bag of sand or salt
● Food and water
● Jump leads
De-icer and ice scraper
● A high-visibility jacket
● Extra warm clothes and a warm blanket in case they get stranded
● Half a tank of extra fuel – Sometimes, it may take longer than expected to reach the destination. In such cases, an extra tank of fuel may come in handy.

Inspect the vehicle

It is best if you check the following parts in winter to avoid them from breaking down:

● Topped up fluid levels
● Windscreen wipers should work smoothly and not have accumulated snow or ice
● Make sure the exhaust doesn’t contain snow
● The lights should be fully functional
● Check and see whether the defrosters are working properly
● The power and charging system of the battery should work flawlessly
● The pressure, balance, and wear and tear of the tires should be perfect.

Paper-based walkaround checks are both time-consuming and challenging, especially during the winters. Instead, you can switch to an electronic forms app that reduces the risks of damaging the paperwork or requiring administrative support to provide detailed information about the condition of the cars. For readers looking to become a lorry driver then you will have to complete an HGV training, there are some brilliant HGV courses in London that I would recommend. For more information see London HGV training courses.

Check the conditions

The weather may change rapidly during winter. You may come out when the sun is shining but may soon find that it’s snowing. Therefore, you should always keep an eye on the GPS system to find out whether any routes are unavailable for your drivers. The telematics will inform you about your drivers’ whereabouts, the route in which they are driving, safer routes, and alternative routes in case they get stuck somewhere.

Drive carefully

Sharp movements, especially while taking a turn, are quite dangerous. You should be careful enough while driving and also ask your drivers to follow the rules below:

● Slow down – It’s easy to skid while taking a turn, especially when the road is wet during winter. HGV drivers usually take a few seconds more to stop their vehicles because of their size and weight.
● Allow extra space – You should inform your drivers to increase their stopping distances to avoid hitting other vehicles, especially in areas that have snow or ice accumulated at the sides of the roads.
● Be consistent – Always ask your drivers to maintain a steady speed and apply the brakes carefully.

Follow the rules

It’s important that your HGV drivers know the thumb rule while changing lanes, irrespective of the weather conditions. In winters, they need to blink their lights four or five times. Additionally, they shouldn’t race with other drivers.

They should always drive cautiously in winters and use hazard lights whenever possible. This allows other drivers to slow down.

Keep road hazards in mind

It’s challenging to drive HGVs in winter. That’s why your drivers should keep the following hazards in mind to prevent accidents:

● Black ice – Black ice is a road condition where there is a thin, transparent layer of ice on the road. It looks as if the road is wet, but in reality, it may cause your HGV to skid easily. A few signs that your drivers should remember are ice build-up on the mirror arms, windshield, antennae, and reduced spray from the RGVs in front.
● Fog – Your drivers should slow down use their lights if they are driving in thick and heavy fog. Heavy fog usually limits the visibility of drivers. Most importantly, they shouldn’t feel stressed about reaching their destination quickly. Give them enough buffer time so that they comfortably reach the destination without meeting an accident.

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