Haulage and shipping play a considerable part in the health of our economy, but driving for a living is a challenging profession. Whether you’re new to the haulage industry or a returning driver, there are stressors and risks involved in being on the road constantly. Issues include long hours, extensive vehicle handling, night working, and weather conditions. The following are safety tips when driving your truck on UK roads and motorways:
Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained before heading out
Most drivers are provided with a specific vehicle, so you’ll want to be familiar with the one you’ve been assigned. Maintain it, look after it as if it’s yours, and give it an inspection before going out each time. Aspects like lights, oil, water levels, brakes, and mirrors should be checked before each trip. Ensure your Chapter 8 Chevrons are in good order. Find out more at https://www.vehiclechevrons.com/
Be aware of your blind spots.
Many truck accidents are caused by other vehicles approaching the truck and being in its blind spot. Vision is restricted for large truck drivers, who cannot see beneath the windscreen, below the side mirrors and doors, above the truck, or immediately behind. As well as always being vigilant, extra mirrors positioned at different angles can help. Ideally, your truck will be fitted with the latest vehicle safety cameras, allowing you to see right around your truck with cameras.
Reduce speed at junctions and corners.
Much of road safety involves the speed at which you’re travelling. Trucks can go as fast as many other vehicles, but the difference is the size. The truck’s weight affects the momentum significantly when accelerating, turning, and braking. Slowing down takes longer and should be done well in advance, particularly at junctions, corners, and when approaching traffic.
Properly Plan and Load Cargo
Routes should be pre-planned and safe, with minimal traffic. Overloading cargo to make fewer trips is also to be avoided. The correct weights and balance of freight are essential for your safety and other road users, especially when cornering tight curves.
Limit Cabin Distractions
For many drivers, the cabin becomes an extension of their home, and comfort takes over with pillows, cushions, laptops, TVs, and stereos. While all these things are essential for ‘down time,’ enabling you to relax and switch off – they should never distract you from focusing on the road.
Listen to Weather Forecasts
When planning a trip, knowing if any bad weather is forecast is essential. During winter, extreme conditions such as ice, heavy rain, hail, and strong winds are expected, making driving a truck even more hazardous.