You have taken your HGV licence test and passed. Congratulations, you are now ready to head into the world and become a professional HGV driver. You can expect a learning curve like learning what is a c1 licence just like any other job, and you’ll become better at it with time. However, simply because you are new at it, it does not mean that you cannot benefit from all the wisdom that precedes you. So, here are the top 5 tips for beginner HGV drivers.
1. Proper Preparations
To become a successful HGV driver, you need proper and thorough planning. While you may assume that the job is all about driving from one location to another, in reality many things may go wrong, change at the last minute, or generally create issues. If you have taken time to plan for all your journeys thoroughly, you will be far less likely to be caught out. It means that you have to start viewing your journey not simply as an origin point and destination but rather start taking into account refuelling, rest stops, or even alternative routes if you run into bad traffic or an accident, as well as any stops you have to make along the way. Today, there are apps available that you can use to plan your journeys so that you are never caught out again.
2. Keep Your Body Hydrated
It might seem somewhat odd, but please bear with us. If you are looking to become a good HGV driver, you should know how to properly care for yourself. It doesn’t mean that you need to learn self-defence, but rather you should look out for your health. Water is critical to the survival of any human, and dehydration often leads to numerous problems, which include tiredness, loss of alertness, and even dizziness. All of these are definitely not good news for any HGV driver on the road.
3. Check Your Vehicle’s Height
One of the biggest beginner mistakes that an HGV driver can make is trying to take their vehicle through a gap that’s a bit too small for it. This typically happens at bridges, and it has been the explanation for numerous photos online and will anger members of the local community attempting to work around your HGV that’s blocking a bridge. As an HGV driver, you are responsible for preventing both accidents and damage to your vehicle along with other people’s property, which includes government property. So, ensure that you know the height and weight of the vehicle that you are driver and make appropriate decisions. If you think a gap is too tight, don’t attempt to squeeze your vehicle through it.
4. Take Regular Breaks
Your employer will probably remind you frequently that you need to take a certain number of breaks each shift and each break has to be of a certain length of time. Pay attention and ensure that you always take them. It might be incredibly tempting to ‘work through it’, especially if you are on a tight deadline or running late. However, without breaks you will eventually get tired, suffer from fatigue, and be unable to do your job properly. You’ll also be exposing yourself along with your employer to possible legal action because those breaks are legal requirements. So, when it is time for your break, be sure to actually stop the vehicle you are driving and take a break. Walk around, stretch your legs, and grab a cup of tea. If you start to feel drowsy at any time when you are driving, take a break too.