If you’re a professional HGV driver, then the odds are you will be working with other people. People within the same company who all work together to ensure that things get done the right way, on time and on budget, keeping clients and staff happy. One of those people will be your direct manager, and they will be in charge of making sure you are doing the right thing, tracking your performance and generally managing your schedules.
At The LGV Training Centre, we spend a lot of time working alongside managers in these companies. Since we are training the next up and coming wave of drivers, we have a good understanding of what these managers are looking for, what makes them tick, and what they are trying to avoid. And because we want you to have a head start in the world of HGV driving, we’ve gathered up 5 things that will drive your manager mad – which generally means you should avoid doing them!
Forgetting To Put Your Driver Card In The Tachograph
This is something you are taught on your first day on training, and yet so many drivers still get this wrong from time to time. At no point should you be driving a HGV without your driver card in the tachograph – even just moving it around the yard. There are 3 reasons for this:
- It’s a legal requirement – all HGVs must have a driver card in them when being driven.
- If there is no driver card, then there is legally no ‘qualified driver’ in charge of the HGV, which can make insurance claims difficult, or invalidate your insurance altogether.
- Timesheets and payroll can’t be processed properly since the tachograph time wasn’t associated with a driver.
So, make sure you start out on the right foot and put your driver card in the tachograph every time.
Recording Breaks As ‘Other Work’
Although pressing the wrong button on the tachograph and recording a break as ‘other work’ can seem like a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things, the reality is that it can hugely skew your driver hours, and can even cause legal issues, since you are required to take set time as breaks legally. And if you don’t record when you took those breaks and how long for, then legally it’s as if you didn’t take them. Bad news for you and your employer. So making sure you record your breaks properly, rather than as ‘other work’ (either accidentally or intentionally) is an easy way to stay on your managers good side.
Not Planning Your Breaks
You may be juggling a pretty hectic schedule day-to-day, but that’s no excuse for poor planning when it comes to your day, and specifically your breaks. It’s understandable that sometimes you forget to account for breaks when planning your day, it causes all sorts of problems for your fleet managers. They need to try and balance time-sensitive deliveries with making sure you’re actually taking the breaks you’re required to and are staying well rested. So while the legal limit for driving might be four and half hours, you need to make sure you’re planning your routes effectively and know where and when you’ll be stopping in advance, rather than leaving to chance and potentially jeopardising delivery times.
Reporting Hours Incorrectly
Recording your hours accurately is the key to getting paid the correct amount, so it’s in your best interest to do it. Yet a lot of HGV drivers make mistakes here. Reporting your hours incorrectly can cause a lot of problems. Best case scenario is that payroll and HR don’t like you very much, since you will cause a lot of extra work and stress for them as they try and work out what really happened. And while they do that, you might end up short-changed some pay. The worst case scenario is, well, worse. Your manager may end up thinking you’re breaking rules when you aren’t, or that you’re following g the rules when really you aren’t. Making sure you report your hours correctly is what keeps everyone accountable and on the right side of the law.
Not Being Accessible
Not while you’re at home relaxing – no one expects that from you. And not really while you’re actually driving either – since answering the phone behind the wheel is illegal. Instead, this is more about just generally being accessible while on the road, and keeping up the communication with your manager. After all, it’s difficult for them to work out if you’re not answering the phone because you’re driving, or because you really don’t want to. To ease this, make sure you are accessible and proactive about communication when you can be. Let them know of your planned routes and alternatives, rough times you want to take breaks, and keep them in the loop about any changes or incidents that could affect your ETA, like traffic, diversions or accidents. This way they don’t have to worry, and you won’t be hounded by them while you’re working.
Although these 5 things might seem simple, they are some of the most common mistakes professional HGV drivers of all levels make every single day, and they usually drive their managers mad. If you can start out with good habits and avoid these mistakes, then you are likely to keep your manager happy, which means they can run the department efficiently and improve the business, making your life better in the process. If you would like to know more, or want some tips on starting out your own HGV driving journey, just get in touch with us today.