If you’ve just passed your HGV license test and are now qualified to drive Heavy Goods Vehicles, the good news is that there are plenty of employment opportunities out there for you. With a current UK shortage of HGV drivers, now is certainly the time to be kick-starting a career in this area.
TrainDrive, which offers HGV training in London and the South East, shares five top tips for people who have newly-acquired their HGV license and are about to hit the road.
- Carefully plan beforehand
As with most things in life, preparation is paramount to success. Whilst being a HGV driver for a living requires you to drive from one location to another, it isn’t always smooth-sailing - there tends to be plenty of hurdles along the way. Last minute changes, unexpected diversions and traffic are just some examples of the types of incidents that can occur on any normal working day.
However, taking the time to properly plan and research your journey, including rest stops, alternative routes and places to refuel, helps in determining the most efficient route, where problems can be avoided if possible.
- Stay well-rested
There are certain legal restrictions that your employer must adhere to regarding how many hours you are allowed to drive for when operating a HGV. Similarly, you must be allowed to take regular breaks, which is outlined in our handy guide on HGV driver hours
Staying alert and well-rested is extremely important, as driving when tired can prevent you from doing your job to the best of your abilities and, more importantly, can lead to accidents.
As such, always pay attention to your hours and take breaks when you are required to. As tempting as it can be to just get on with it, especially when working a late shift or having to meet a deadline, there is simply no point putting yourself (and others) at risk for the sake of saving time.
- Keep hydrated
Staying hydrated throughout the working day is vital since regularly drinking water allows us to remain alert and stave off the physical effects of dehydration, including tiredness, dizziness and lack of attention, all of which can create serious problems when behind the wheel.
Purchasing a refillable water bottle and keeping it with you in your cab during working hours is recommended in order to keep you as safe and healthy as can be!
- Know the height of your vehicle
When driving a large vehicle, like a truck, it can be difficult to judge the height of it in comparison to the objects around you. In order to prevent accidents, it is wise to find out the exact height of your vehicle, making a note of it and sticking it to your dashboard.
This ensures that whenever you encounter a bridge or gap that you need to pass through, you’ll quickly be able to check whether your HGV is able to safely fit through it. Knowing the height of your HGV also enables you to route plan accordingly.
- Communicate effectively
Being a good HGV driver means being able to communicate effectively with members of your team, particularly the traffic office, which is responsible for organising your journey. Building a solid relationship with them ensures your work runs smoothly.
For instance, if you encounter roadworks that are likely to cause a delay to your journey, it is important to let the traffic team know so that they can, in turn, give both your employer and end-client an accurate time of arrival.
Keeping all members of the team in-the-loop builds a stronger team, creates happier customers, and contributes to a more efficient way of working.