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Beyond The Driving – Your Pre-Drive Safety Checklist (Part 1)

When it comes to working as a professional HGV driver, there are a lot of things for you to remember. Your daily life is made up of much more than just driving from point A to point B, and you will be required to do everything from loading your vehicle to planning routes and filling in paperwork.

 

One of your more important daily tasks will be running through your pre-drive checks. This is a defined list of checks you need to carry out on the inside and outside of your vehicle before you drive it for the first time each day. These checks ensure everything is working correctly, there is no damage and your HGV is safe to be on the road. And today, we wanted to show you what exactly that looks like. Since it’s a pretty big list, we’re going to start with your inside checks, and move onto you exterior checks in our next blog.

 

And don’t worry – we know it’s a big list – but it doesn’t take as long as you think!

 

Inside The Vehicle

Your interior vehicle checks are designed to make sure that everything inside your main cab is present, safe and in fully working order, so you don’t have to adjust things while driving, or stop your route to repair things. Your interior checklist includes:

 

  1. Mirrors and glass

Check that your windscreen isn’t:

  • Cracked
  • Scratched
  • Discoloured
  • Excessively tinted

 

You should also check that all of your mirrors are in place and secure, with no damages or missing glass, and nothing blocking your view. And if you use a camera system instead of a mirror, make sure that is in full working order.

 

  1. Windscreen wipers and washers 

Make sure your windscreen wipers are present and that they work correctly. They shouldn’t be damaged or worn down, and you should have plenty of washer fluid.

 

  1. Front view

Sit in your cab and make sure that no objects are in the way of your front view – including the swept area of the windscreen wipers. In some cases, official stickers (like your operator licence disc) or road safety items will be allowed in those areas, as long as they don’t seriously blog your visibility of the road.

 

  1. Dashboard warning lights and gauges

Perform checks and make sure that your instruments, gauges and warning lights are all working. This includes:

  • Engine warning lights
  • Emissions system lights
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic braking system (EBS)

 

  1. Steering

 

Check that your steering wheel:

  • Moves properly
  • That power assisted steering is working correctly
  • Has no excessive play
  • Doesn’t jam
  • There is no excessive lift or movement in the steering column

 

  1. Horn

Test you horn, check that it works and that it is easily accessible from the driver’s seat.

 

  1. Brakes and air build up

Your breaks are an important safety feature, so you should spend some time checking them. This includes:

  • Checking that air builds up correctly and warning system works
  • There are no air leaks
  • The footwell is clear, with nothing in the way or at risk of causing a block between the brake and floor
  • The service brake operates both the cab and trailer brakes successfully
  • The parking brake for the trailer is working properly
  • The service brake pedal doesn’t have excessive side play, or any missing, loose or incomplete anti-slip tread

 

  1. Height marker

HGV height is an important part of HGV safety, but it can change. Make sure that you check the correct vehicle height market is written in the cab. Be mindful of the fact that the height can change depending on when the fifth wheel is adjusted, if your trailer is unloaded or other factors.

 

  1. Seatbelts

And finally, your seatbelts – the thing keeping you safe as you drive! Make sure your seatbelts don’t have any cuts, damage or fraying that might prevent them from working. Check that they stay secure and in place when plugged in, fully retract when taken off, and fit snugly against you when worn.

 

Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it looks! And if you think you might need some help remembering it all, you can download this check sheet from the DVLA to help you.

 

At The LGV Training Centre, we take pride in providing high-quality, in depth training to each and every one of our students. We take particular care in making sure you understand your responsibilities as a HGV driver, especially when it comes to the safety of yourself and others. These checks are so important that they actually form a key part of your practical test, so make sure you get to know them. If you have any questions about this list, or want to know more about training to be a HGV driver, please just get in touch with us today.

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