Last year the Government reported there had been 26,610 people who were either killed or seriously injured in road traffic incidents during 2018 which was a 6% increase on the year previous. While 44% of these were as a result of car users, less than 4% were as a result of HGV drivers, but the need to remain safe on the roads when you are a professional driver remains clear.
It’s essential to ensure that both you and your vehicle are safe to drive before beginning your journey. Although HGV’s are one of the smallest contributors to these incidents, they have increased in the last 3 years according to Government statistics.
How can you keep your vehicle safe?
– Before driving the vehicle ensure that it has an updated MOT certificate. Under no circumstance drive a vehicle without a valid MOT proof (paper disc).
– Check the oil levels, tyres and mirror settings before departing. If your mirrors are not correctly set you will increase the size of your blind spot and while under inflated tyres can lead to excessive wearing, over inflated tyres increase your risk of a blowout.
– Check that your load is suitable for your vehicle and that it is correctly secured. Click here to read more about the Government regulations and the video below explains in great detail how to secure your load properly.
Check that you are safe to drive
One of the most important things for all HGV drivers to understand is their working time directive and the driving hour laws. Tiredness is one of the biggest killers on the U.K road network and this regulation has been put in place to protect drivers from working when tired and ensures that they are getting adequate rest. If you are tired when driving it can have the same impact as being drunk. Read the government guidelines on driving hours by clicking here and by watching the below video.
When preparing to start your journey ensure that you have placed your phone on silent/do not disturb and put it out of sight. The same can be said for any other form of electronic device or potentially distracting object within your cab. You should make every effort to remove all distracting temptations when driving so that you are fully focused at all times.
You also need to ensure that you are fully qualified and legally allowed to drive the vehicle you are stepping into. If you are driving a commercial vehicle you should have passed a CPC course having a DQC(driver qualification card) in your wallet. For more information on the CPC qualification click here and click here to read more on how to add higher categories to your driving licence that will allow you to drive the class 1 and class 2 trucks.
It’s just as important to ensure you are medically able to drive the vehicle by ensuring that things such as your eyesight and any prescriptions you may be on will not impact your ability to drive.
It is the duty of all road users to keep themselves and others around them safe. Always think carefully before you get behind the wheel to ensure you are not putting yourself or anyone else in danger.