Although many people dream of becoming HGV drivers, only a few succeed in the career. The first step to driving these massive vehicles is by taking the required training and passing the HGV tests like those offered by The LGV Training Company. Passing the test means you can drive the HGV professionally, or so you may think. Although you might have passed the test, mastering the art of driving such heavy vehicles takes time. If you are a first time HGV driver and anxious about it, here are a few tips and ideas to help you on your first drive.
1. Be Ready
Proper planning and preparation are essential if you are to succeed as an HGV driver. This is not all about driving from one point to the next. A whole lot of factors come into play – anything can go wrong when you least expect it. You need to know what needs to be done when the worst happens, and if there’s an issue. Planning for the journey can however help avoid inconveniences and other issues that the road or route might present. First, you need to have a look at the route, alternative routes, rest stops, and refuelling points. Always have a backup plan (especially on the route) ready before setting off.
2. Stay Hydrated
You need to be at your best (health wise) before setting off. Although you might be physically fit, you need to drink lots of water to help ensure you are hydrated all through the journey. It would also be wise to take a bottle or two of drinking water with you. According to research, dehydration is one of the primary causes of dizziness, tiredness and lack of concentration, among other issues. Drinking plenty of water can make the difference between staying alert through the journey and causing an accident due to poor concentration or tiredness. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Have the water bottle within reach and take sips as you drive. This will help prevent dehydration.
3. Check The Weight And Height Of Your Vehicle
As a professional driver, you need to know every aspect of your vehicle including its weight, and most importantly, height. The internet is already filled with pictures of HGV’s stuck at bridges because a driver tried to fit the vehicle through too small a space. While you may be a newbie driver, don’t make this mistake. Checking the height and weight of the vehicle will help you avoid roads with narrow and low bridges. In addition to this, you have a responsibility to take care of the vehicle and other people’s property as well. As long as you are aware of your vehicle, you’ll be able to avoid situations before they happen.
4. Learn to Take a Break
Most newbie HGV drivers will want to complete or deliver cargo within the shortest time possible. Although this might be a nice gesture, employers recommend taking a break when you feel tired. Most employers will even recommend taking a break after driving for a certain period. You are required to stop the vehicle, get out of the vehicle, walk around, or even grab a cup of coffee. This should help stretch your muscles and get the blood moving again. This is also recommended if you feel tired and drowsy while on the road. Be sure to get enough rest, especially sleep, to be able to stay alert on the road.
Although you might know this already, most HGV drivers are lonely. This is because they clock dozens of hours on the road with no one to communicate with or a loved one to see. For this reason, it is advisable to keep in contact with various people alongside your family. This includes the traffic office, end clients, and those organising pick-ups and drop-offs. Learning to keep in touch with the office, clients, and other organisers help build a good relationship, and also reduces the boredom. This way, you will be able to concentrate on work without your mind drifting away.