The HGV industry is one of the most challenging environments to work in. Not only will you be away from your family for long periods of time, but you will also end up having to spend all this time alone. One of the most dangerous things about this job is that since you are driving for long periods of time, sometimes with not enough sleep, there is a danger of falling asleep and getting into an accident. Here are some safety tips for new HGV drivers:
- While it may be tempting to work longer hours than you can healthily manage, you have to realize that you need to sleep at least six to eight hours every night or you will find yourself falling asleep at the wheel.
- Regardless of what the company says, you need to make sure you take care of yourself and sleep and take other stops when needed. Should you get into an accident, you will be the one in danger of losing your life, not the company.
- While automotive loads pay very well, most companies will just make you sit and wait so you can pick it up. While they get paid for holding a truck for you, you just have to wait till it’s ready to go, with no extra pay, and then drive all night. So just say no in circumstances like these.
- For some reason, it has become a habit of HGV drivers to flash their lights at another driver after they have safely passed. Doing so can blind that driver temporarily and cause them to run off the road. It is better to not flash the light, or if you have to, then not use the bright lights to do so.
- It is really important to pull over to your line when you are passing another driver or when someone is passing you. This is because turbulence is created when two heavy goods trucks pass each other, and it can be enough to suck in the trucks into each other and cause an accident. You can reduce this by making sure both of you stay in your lines, or at least, that you do so.
- Reversing a truck is one of the most difficult things to do in this business. Everyone has to learn to do it, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some tips:
- Always get out of your cab and walk back to understand how much space you have to reverse and the angles you will need
- Calm down, and take your time. It is ok to take longer to do it right, then try and hurry and end up causing damage
- Instead of just looking at your box, also follow the tracks of your trailer tires
- If there are lines on the pavement, use them to help you judge your distance
- When you get into your first cab, you need to have some essentials with you. Consider making a small bag of these so you never forget them, or put them in the HGV permanently. These include: radio, truckers map, duct tape, log book ruler, scissors, regular tape, calculator, wrenches, flat head, screwdriver, jumper cables.
J. Mikula is a business professional, consultant, and writer.