Have you recently taken your HGV licence tests and passed? If so, then congratulations! It’s time for you to head out into the wonderful world of driving HGVs professionally. This job is like no other some of the time, and yet, it has a learning curve, so like many other jobs, it’s just something that you’ll get better at the longer you do it. Even though you’re new to this, that doesn’t mean you can benefit from the experiences and wisdom of those that have chosen this career path before you. So, here we are going to share with you 5 tips useful for first-timers new to driving HGVs.
Always Be Prepared
Thorough and appropriate planning is crucial to your being a successful HGV driver. While you might assume that this job is nothing more than going from point A to B, the truth is that many things can go wrong, change unexpectedly, or just cause general issues. However, if you put in the time to do some thorough planning for every one of your trips, then you’re far less likely to get caught up in such things. That means that you need to look ahead at your journey and see more than the destination and point of origin, as you also need to factor in things like refuelling, rest stops, potential stops you might need to hit while en route, and even alternate routes you might need to get around bad traffic or accidents.
This one could seem somewhat strange to you, but give us a second. If you are striving to be good at HGV driving, then you have to know how to properly take care of yourself. This isn’t necessarily in some kind of self-defence way, but actually being mindful of your health. Water is crucial to physical survival for humans, and dehydration can be a culprit behind many issues, including dizziness, tiredness, and a loss of alertness. These are all things an HGV driver who is on the road should avoid. So, do a favour to yourself and buy a large, refillable water bottle that you can keep in your cab all the time and fill up as needed. Sip it throughout your day before you’re thirsty, since thirst is how your body tells you that dehydration has already happened.
Verify Your Vehicle Height
One of the most major mistakes that those new to HGV driving make is trying to get through vehicles through gaps that are simply too small. That typically happens at bridges, and it’s been the reason behind many online photographs, as well as annoyed community members who are trying to get around an HGV crunched up and blocking a local bridge. It’s your personal and professional responsibility as an HGV driver to prevent damage and accidents to not only your own vehicle, but also the property of others, and that includes bridges. So, be sure you know the specific height and weight of whatever vehicle that you are driving so you can make the appropriate decisions. Also, if you should ever think that a gap might be too tight, don’t even try it!
Take Your Breaks
Your employer will frequently remind you that you’re mandated to take a particular number of breaks every shift. Also, those breaks need to be for a certain length of time. Pay attention, and be sure that you’re taking them. It can be very tempting to just power through things, especially if you’re on a tight deadline or running late. However, when break time comes, you need to actually make sure that you stop your vehicle and take your break. Walk around to stretch your legs. Refill your water bottle, or just get a cup of coffee. Never hesitate to take a good break if you start feeling drowsy at any point in your driving.
Communication Is Essential
It can be lonely sometimes when you’re driving an HGV, which means that at the minimum, you need to be staying in touch with someone from your life on a regular basis. However, in this case, it specifically means communications with your end clients, your traffic office, and anyone organising your schedule of pick-ups and drop-offs. However, once you invest a bit of time into building up solid relationships, you will discover that your work is going to go so much smoother.