You just took and passed your HGV licence tests! Congratulations, now you are prepared to go out and work as a professional HGV driver for the first time. There will be a learning curve, like with all other jobs, and as time goes on you will continue to improve. Being new, it makes sense to benefit from the wisdom of experienced HGV drivers who have gone before you. Here are 5 useful tips for beginner HGV drivers whether you’re a newly qualified with a C1 licence or a C+E licence.
Thorough and proper planning is critical to your HGV driving success. Although you may think your new job is just a matter of driving from point A to point B, there are actually many things that could potentially go wrong, could change suddenly, or cause issues in general. However, if you take the time to plan thoroughly for every journey you take, then you are much less likely to have problems. That means your journey isn’t just origin and destination points. Instead, you will need to factor in refuelling, rest stops, and alternative routes just in case you encounter bad traffic or an accident. You also need to plan for any stops that need to be taken on the trip.
This may seem like a strange tip, but it is important. To be a great HGV driver, it is important to take good care of yourself. It is very important to look after your health. Water is absolutely essential for human survival, and if you become dehydrated it can cause many problems for you, including loss of alertness, dizziness, and tiredness. Those are all bad things for an HGV driver who is out on the road. So make sure to invest in a large, refillable water bottle, and always keep it inside your cab. Sip on water throughout the course of the day instead of waiting until you feel thirsty. Thirst is actually your body’s way to tell you it is already dehydrated.
Check Your Vehicle’s Height
One of the largest newbie mistakes that an HGV driver can make is attempting to drive a vehicle through a space that is not big enough for it. Usually, this occurs under bridges and many embarassing photos have been posted online by annoyed drivers trying to work around an HGV that is blocking the bridge. As an HGV driver, it is your responsibility to prevent damage and accidents involving your vehicle as well as other people’s and council property. So be sure that you know your vehicle’s height and weight, and make the appropriate decisions. If you ever think a gap may be too tight – don’t attempt it.
Your employer will frequently remind you that you are required each shift to take a certain number of breaks, and they need to be for a certain amount of time. Pay close attention and be sure to take them. We understand it can be very tempting to try to work through it, especially when you are on a tight deadline or are running late. However, when it is time for you to take a break, be sure that you stop your HGV vehicle and actually take your break. Grab a coffee, stretch your legs, walk around. If you ever start to feel drowsy while you are driving, take a break right away.
Communication is Key
It can be very lonely to be an HGV driver, so at least keep in touch with somebody on a regular basis. However, in this situation, we are talking about communicating with the people who are organising drop-offs and pick-ups, your end clients, and the traffic office. Investing time in developing good relationships will help your work run much smoother.