Roads are treacherous this time of the year. That’s not exactly a secret. The weather can constantly flip back and forth between rain, ice, snow, black ice, and even gale-force winds. That means that drivers of any kind of vehicle have to be sure they’re careful any time that they set out. However, if you’re carrying a heavy and/or large load, then you need to be extra cautious. At The LGV Training Company, we take pride in helping all of our drivers get competent and stay safe in all kinds of weather conditions.
Get Your HGV Ready
First of all, you have to get your vehicle ready. It should go without saying that you need to be keeping your HGV in great condition every time of the year. However, in winter, it is positively essential. Prior to setting out on a journey or trip of any kind, you need to check your wiper blades for their condition, your fluid levels, and the functionality of all your lights. Test out the brakes and ensure that they’re working correctly. If they’ve not been looked over recently, have a professional check them over.
If it’s been a while since your HGV’s last maintenance check, book one promptly. Also, prior to each trip, ensure there’s no snow or ice on critical parts of the vehicle, including brake lights, headlights, and windows. In addition, have more than half a tank of fuel, as colder weather can create problems here.
Packing Up a Winter Kit
If you happen to get on the road in the winter, then you might end up there for a while. Whether you sit in traffic, end up stuck in heavy snow, or just have a long journey ahead of you, then you need to be prepared for it. Get yourself a really nice, durable, and big bag, so that you can pack a winter driving kit. It should have things like:
-Warm winter clothes
-A torch that has extra batteries
-Hat, scarf, and gloves
-A few non-perishable foods, like breakfast bars or protein snacks
-A first-aid kit
-Windscreen scraper and de-icer
Always Practice Smart Driving
Now that you’re prepared, your vehicle is ready, and you have an emergency kit, then it’s time to get ready to drive. And yet, this is where it can get tricky. There’s sadly no magical formula for driving on roads that are wet, icy, or snowy. You’ll learn most of it just through experience. However, there are a handful of rules you can follow that will make driving safer, such as:
-Go Slowly: Winter has unpredictable weather and conditions, so you have to be able to react properly to all of them without causing damage. That means everything you do needs to be slow and steady. For starters, your tyres aren’t going to have as much traction as you might be used to thanks to the ice and sleet of cold weather. That means you’ll require more stopping distance than you’re used to.
-Don’t Stop Suddenly: It’s too easy to just pump the brakes at the last second, but this is a really bad idea in the winter. Rather, what you should do is brake gradually, as you’ll give yourself extra space both in front and behind you.
-Watch Out For Black Ice: This is among the most dangerous things to see on the road, and it’s very easy to get caught off-guard by it. Keep your eyes scanning the surface of the road for patches of black ice, avoiding them whenever you can.
-Check the Windscreen: If you see ice accumulating at the top corners or even on your antennae, then you’re in conditions ideal for the formation of black ice.
Winter safety needs to be a top concern for you if you’re an HGV driver. A large part of this is instilling into people that their safe driving is going to only be 10 per cent quick-thinking and 90 per cent precaution, so planning ahead and learning as much as you can about the weather will help you know how to face the conditions you’ll drive in.