During this time of the year, roads tend to be quite dangerous. All motorists should ensure that they drive cautiously whenever they get on the road, with the weather alternating between black ice, snow, ice, gale force winds and rain. You need to exercise even more care when handling a vehicle carrying a heavy and large load.
Get Your Heavy Goods Vehicle Ready
To begin with, you need to get your vehicle ready. Your HGV should be in tip-top condition during winter, even though you need to ensure that it is well conditioned throughout regardless of what time of the year it is. Check to see that all the lights are in proper working order, look at fluid levels and inspect the condition of the wiper blades before getting your vehicle on the road for any trips. If the brakes haven’t been maintained for a while, make sure that you get them checked by a professional after running your own checks.
Get your vehicle inspected as soon as possible, if it has not been comprehensively maintained for an extended period. Make sure you always have more than half a tank of fuel before you set out as anything less might cause problems in the freezing temperatures. Also remember to ensure that there is no snow or ice on the brake lights, headlights and windows or any other essential parts of the vehicle before you start each trip.
Be Prepared for the Weather with a Winter Driving Kit
You should expect to be stuck on the road for an extended period if you are going to be driving during winter weather. You want to be prepared for any eventualities that involve being snowed in somewhere, making a long trip or just getting stuck in traffic. Pack a sufficient winter driving kit in a large robust bag. The kit should include:
- Winter wear
- Raincoat for rainy conditions
- A hat, scarf and pair of gloves
- A working flashlight and some extra batteries
- A warm blanket
- Foodstuffs with a long shelf life such as breakfast and protein bars
- Sufficient amounts of bottled water
- A first aid kit for any emergencies
- A windscreen scraper and de-icer
Now that your driving kit and vehicle are both good to go, prepare yourself. However, this is easier said than done. When it comes to operating your HGV in wet, ice and snow covered roads there is sadly no easy way out. Only through experience can you learn most of the skills you need. However, you can drive more safely in winter by sticking to the following rules:
- Drive slowly: you need to be able to respond swiftly and safely to the randomly changing winter driving or weather conditions. All your actions should be done slowly and steadily. To stop you will need more distance, considering the fact that your tyres will have lost much of their traction in freezing weather, as a result of the presence of sleet and ice.
- No instant brakes: during winter, it is very unwise for you to hit your instant brakes, no matter how tempting it might be. Give yourself the space you need at the back and front by always trying to slowly apply the brakes.
- Watch out for black ice: it’s easy to get in dangerous situations involving black ice, considering how dodgy it is. Avoid patches of black ice by being on the lookout for it on the surface of the road, at all times, when driving.
- Always inspect the windscreen: the formation of black ice always comes soon after you spot ice accumulating on the edges of your windscreen and along the antenna.
As a Heavy Goods Vehicle operator, safe driving during winter should be of importance to you,which is why LGV training is desirable. We are proud of assisting our drivers to operate safely and in a proficient way regardless of the prevailing weather, at Easy HGV. Learn more about how to handle your HGV in the prevailing conditions by anticipating the weather and appreciating the fact that driving is 10 per cent swift thinking and 90 per cent care.