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Tips for Driving your HGV Safely in Winter

Learning how to drive an HGV can unlock a huge range of benefits for today’s professionals, from
excellent earning opportunities to incredible freedom in your career. However, there are also a
number of challenges involved with driving a large vehicle too.

Driving an HGV isn’t the same as driving a car. There are various additional risks to be aware of, and
the environment can be very different depending on the season you’re driving in. During the summer
months, you’ll need to be aware of the risk of overheating during long stretches on the road, and take
steps to make yourself more comfortable.

During the winter months, you’ll need to be tuned into the possible risks of various extreme weather
conditions, and how they can influence your time behind the wheel. If you’re worried about the
unpredictable British winter, and how it might impact you, the following tips could be helpful.

1. Make Winter Vehicle Checks a Habit

When you start a career as an HGV driver, you’ll usually get into the habit of performing various
checks on your vehicle before you start a journey. After all, at any time of the year, it’s important to
make sure your tyres are in good condition, and that all of the electrical components of your vehicles
are working as they should be. During the winter however, there are some extra precautions to take.

Aside from making sure your tyres are in good condition, and that your battery is working at full
capacity, you’ll also need to double-check the performance of things like:

  •  Your heating system: Are your heaters working properly, and do you have another form of
    warmth available just in case (such as blankets or extra clothing layers?)
  • Wipers: Are your windshield wipers working well, and are they capable of withstanding
    heavy rain, sleet, snow, and hail?
  • Lights: Do you have the right fog lights in place to deal with low visibility on the winter
    roads? Are the bulbs working well?
  • Fluid levels: Do you have everything topped up prior to each journey? Is it worth investing in
    some extra fuel just in case you need to take a different route?

If you notice any issues speak to your boss straight away about getting the problems fixed before you
begin driving.

2. Download a Weather App

The chances are you’re already taking advantage of various forms of technology as an HGV driver.
You might be using a GPS system to help you find the ideal route for any deliveries or journeys. Plus,
you could have access to Bluetooth for streaming audio entertainment content. In the winter months,
it’s ideal to have a weather app downloaded too.

A weather application will give you an insight into the forecast for the day, and the week ahead, so
you can plan accordingly. It can also be configured to send you notifications of severe weather
warnings. Weather issues to look out for when you’re trying to boost your safety on the roads might

  • Snow and ice: If it’s going to be particularly snowy, stock up on extra grit and salt. You may
    also need to consider some new tyres or tyre chains.
  • Heavy rain: Extremely heavy rain can impair your visibility. You’ll need to ensure you have a good set of window wipers in place.
  • Storms: Major storms and lightning can be threatening to drivers operating larger vehicles. Make sure you have a plan in place to avoid storms.
  • Winter sun: Very sunny days can be a problem if the light is reflecting on the roads and causing glare. Invest in a pair of sunglasses.
  • Fog: Excessive fog will make it difficult to see. You’ll need to ensure you have other routes available just in case it’s too misty to see.

3. Create a Survival Kit

A survival kit is one of those tools you’ll keep in your HGV at all times, hoping you don’t need to use
it. In ideal circumstances, this kit will remain untouched all winter, but it can be extremely useful if
you find yourself encountering various hazards on the road.

You can ask your boss and colleagues for their advice on the kind of tools to include in your survival
kit. However, it’s a good idea to start with the basics, like extra de-icer and some blankets to help get
you out of a tight spot or keep you comfortable in the snow.

You can also invest in a good set of jumper cables, extra windshield fluid, and additional food and
water in case you get stuck for long periods of time. A first-aid kit is one of the key tools an HGV
driver should always have in their vehicle just in case.

Depending on the routes you’re taking and the kind of vehicles you’re going to be driving, your
survival kit might include some extras, like bonus fuel, or a flashlight.

4. Always Put Safety First

Finally, any HGV driver should always put safety first, no matter what time of year they’re going to
be driving. While it’s tempting to impress your boss by making sure you always get to your
destination on time, come rain or shine, you should also be looking after yourself and your vehicle.

This means sometimes you’re going to need to drive more slowly than usual on the roads to ensure
you don’t become a victim of a patch of black ice, or a swerving driver. You may need to take
different routes to avoid un-gritted or dangerous areas, or give yourself more space between your
vehicle and the car ahead. This could lead to unexpected delays in your arrival.

It’s also important to know when you should stop driving completely and wait for the weather to
clear. If you’re struggling to see the road ahead of you, then you won’t be able to drive safely.
Sometimes, the best option is to simply stop and wait until it’s safer to driver.

Drive Safe During Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for any driver, with icy roads, heavy rain, and unpredictable cars on
the motorway. However, it’s particularly risky for HGV drivers dealing with expensive, and large
vehicles. The tips above will help to keep you safe and confident when you’re on the road.
However, you’ll also need the right training to ensure you can manage the challenges of HGV driving
at any time of the year. Contact the LGV training company today to start your adventure into a career
as an HGV driver.

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