Nothing makes any road more dangerous than winter weather. It is during this time that black ice, ice, snow, forceful winds, and rain make the roads treacherous. Every driver, even with an HGV licence, needs to be careful while driving in winter. You need to be even more cautious if carrying a heavy, large load, and especially if driving an HGV. Outlined below are a few tips and tricks on how to keep your HGV safe in winter.
1. Prepare Your HGV
It’s crucial to have your HGV in the best condition possible, and especially during winter. Winter driving can be dangerous if your vehicle isn’t in good condition. For this reason, you need to have everything checked including the level of fluids, wiper blades, lights, and brakes. Make sure all brakes are functioning correctly, especially if they haven’t been checked for some time.
If the HGV hasn’t been serviced lately, book a maintenance check before the winter season begins. In addition to having the vehicle serviced and any crucial parts replaced, you need to ensure brake lights, headlights, and even windows aren’t covered in snow. A simple thing such as snow on your brake lights means other drivers won’t notice when you brake, or even see you in the snowy weather. Make sure you have at least half a tank of fuel before setting out.
2. Have Your Winter Kit Ready
It is always advisable to have your winter kit ready before setting out during the winter months. There is a very high likelihood that the journey will be prolonged due to heavy traffic, or when the snow is just too deep to get any traction. Have everything ready in case this happens. Some of the things you need in your sturdy winter bag include:
- Warm winter clothes
- Scarf, hat, gloves, raincoat
- A torch and an extra set of batteries
- A blanket
- Non-perishable foods
- Bottled water
- A first aid kit
- Windscreen scraper and de-icer
3. Practise Smart Driving
With the HGV and emergency kit ready, you should then start getting ready to take on whatever the winter roads will bring. While there’s no magic formula to driving on icy, snowy, and wet roads, a bit of practice can help you learn how to keep the HGV on the road. Here are a few tips and rules to follow when driving during winter.
a. Drive slowly but steadily: weather conditions during winter can be very unpredictable. You therefore need to be ready to react whenever possible, which is why it’s advisable to drive at manageable speeds. Driving slowly should give you enough time to hit the brakes, evade a collision, or stop the HGV without causing any damage or an accident. Since your tyres won’t have enough traction, it’s important to keep a safe distance between you and the other vehicle.
b. Avoid abrupt stops: braking in icy, slippery roads can be a lot trickier than usual and even dangerous. That said, you need to practice braking gradually to help give you more space both at the front and at the back.
c. Watch out for black ice: black ice is one of the most dangerous things that every driver needs to watch out for. Staying alert and scanning the road surface for black ice on the road, and avoiding it, should however help keep you safe on the road.
d. Check the windscreen for ice build-up: if ice starts building up on your windshield and antennae, that’s an indication that you’ll encounter black ice on the road.
It is every HGV driver’s wish to stay safe during winter. We at Easy as HGV strive to help our drivers to stay safe and even be competitive regardless of the weather conditions. We also put particular emphasis on safe driving, which equates to 10% quick thinking and 90% precaution. Planning for winter driving, having an open mind and being ready to learn, and knowing just what to do when driving in winter, holds the key to staying safe while on the road.