The road haulage industry can be a dangerous place. According to stats by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive), over the last 5 years there has been nearly 30,000 employees injured in the industry, including HGV drivers.
To make sure you are as safe as possible on the roads, take into consideration these 4 safety checks HGV drivers should make…
1 – Are YOU ready to drive?
Checking your own health and fitness should be your first port of call. No matter whether you’re directly employed by a company, or self-employed, you should judge whether you’re fit to drive before starting a shift.
For drivers with ongoing illnesses, such as diabetes, it’s important to have your medication with you at all times as well as a blood glucose meter and foods to keep your sugars high if they drop too low.
2 – Are you legally allowed to drive?
As we’ve highlighted previously on the blog, HGV driving hours, breaks and rest periods must be adhered to, to avoid prosecution and increase the chances of an accident happening
Driving limits of 9 hours per day (extended to 10 hours twice a week), 56 hours per week and 90 hours per fortnight should be met accordingly. Breaks lasting 45 minutes per every 4.5 hours driving time, must be taken away from the cab.
Rest, especially for trampers must be taken – it is law to prevent you driving whilst not in a fit condition to do so.
3 – Is your vehicle roadworthy?
It is no longer just the logistics or transport manager that is in charge of checking vehicle roadworthiness – it is now down to the HGV driver too.
A walk around check of your vehicle is a great place to start, ensuring that you’ve checked the lights, indicators, any leaks, coupling security, battery condition, body, spray suppression, markers and other key areas on the outside of the vehicle.
Mirrors, glass, brakes, steering, horn, warning lamps, excessive engine smoke, windscreen wipers and washers should be checked from the cab. The Government have issued further tips on this subject in their free guide “Staying Legal: HGV driver basics”.
4 – Have you assessed driving conditions?
Using technology available to drivers through their sat nav or smartphone, assessing your driving conditions across the whole of your route can prepare you, especially in the winter.
As you fully know, weather conditions play a big role in driver safety, so making sure you’re prepared for the rain/snow/hot temperatures in summer. This includes making physical changes to the vehicle, as well as changing your driving style and mentality.
Also take into consideration your route and the potential problems you may face. Accidents are hard to gauge, but avoiding busy areas at busy times, along with finding alternative routes for areas with road works can help out a lot.
We know you know…
We know that you know these 4 ways to stay safer, but sometimes it’s important to refresh your memory and realise that accidents unfortunately happen – but you can do a lot to avoid them.
Looking for a new HGV driver job? Check out our vacancies page today with jobs across the Midlands now available.
Photo credit: Geograph