They say that the first year of being an HGV driver is the hardest. Finding your feet within the industry can be daunting. You’re figuring out your routes, navigating the roads and balancing your lifestyle with your work. These are all elements that can make the job quite taxing. As a new long-haul HGV driver, simple tips and tricks will help you along the way.
So, compiled in this list are the top tips for new long-haul HGV drivers, to help you get trucking!
1.Don’t neglect your sleep schedule (ever)
According to the CDC, in the USA drowsy driving is responsible for around 83,000 crashes annually. The figure is staggering and certainly paints a bleak picture of the dangers of driving on a lack of sleep.
Getting quality sleep and enough of it is absolutely crucial to being healthy. This doesn’t just apply to long-haul HGV drivers, but certainly plays a big role in their job performance.
There is a never-ending list of reasons why sleep is so important to the human body. This list includes the following:
- Sleep allows for better concentration and productivity
- Lowers the risk of weight gain
- Lowers the risk of heart disease
- Betters your social skills and emotional intelligence
- Can help to prevent the onset of mental health issues
- Strengthens your immune system
All of these factors indicate the importance of quality sleep; the concentration and focus of long-haul truck drivers are of the utmost priority. This is because these two factors play a big part in safe driving and the alertness of hazards around you. Ensuring that you make enough time for sleep can have the biggest impact on the safety of your driving.
Most long-haul HGV drivers will have an area in their vehicle in which they sleep, fitted with a bed and other items to help them get comfortable after a day or night of work. Make sure your HGV has all the necessary items in it for you to get a good night or day’s rest.
2.Keep a well-stocked truck driver emergency kit
Having a well-stocked truck driver emergency kit can help avert disaster and get you out of some tricky situations with your vehicle.
Within your truck driver emergency kit you should always have:
- First aid kit
- Snow shovel
- Ice scraper
- Fire extinguisher
- Jumper cables
- Wheel chock
- Tire pressure gauge
- A warning flag
- Hand sanitiser
- Torch with extra batteries
Having all of these items in your HGV vehicle can help to keep you trucking safely, even in unexpected emergencies. You can purchase these items from shops that supply truck parts such as HGV Direct.
3.Do comprehensive pre and post-trip inspections of your vehicle
As a new HGV driver, getting familiar with your vehicle is of paramount importance. Doing pre and post-trip inspections of your HGV truck allows any issues to be noticed before a journey. Preventative measures are always the best way to make sure your vehicle is safe, rather than waiting till you hear a funny sound when driving.
An inspection of your HGV mainly covers:
- Checking the mirrors and glass,
- Windscreen wipers and washers,
- Front view,
- Dashboard lights,
- The brakes
- The horn
- Your lights
- Any fuel or oil leaks
- The health of your battery
These basic pre-inspection and post-inspection checks will make sure that your vehicle is working safely and ready to be out on the road. Do them today to potentially avoid disaster.
4.Maintain a healthy diet and exercise schedule
It is a pretty well-known fact that most long-haul HGV drivers spend a large amount of their lives sitting in the driving seat.
It can be so easy to fall into patterns of eating at truck stops and filling yourself with whatever you fancy that day. However, maintaining a healthy diet will benefit your health and body in numerous ways. Fuelling yourself by eating nutrient-rich foods can assist with better focus and ultimately, a longer life.
Additionally, don’t spend all your time sedentary in the driver’s seat. Get out of your vehicle and get some exercise, even if it’s brief. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of joint problems and other health conditions. These basic lifestyle tips are vital to the trucking community and are important for new HGV drivers to know.
5.Work on your trucking skills outside of your vehicle
Being the driver of a long-haul HGV vehicle can be a lot more challenging than people perceive. It requires certain skills and discipline like no other profession. This is why it is a good idea to improve certain skills outside of the vehicle. So that you can then take them into your work and be the best driver you can be.
In order to be a long-haul driver, you need to have effective communication, focus, quick thinking, patience and alertness. There are a number of ways and resources that can help you improve the necessary skills for the job.