There is a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare your HGV training vehicle for winter, as any vehicle owner knows. There are a lot of people who choose to not prepare their vehicles for winter and would rather deal with any issues arising from this when they happen. While this is not recommended it is something that you could do with a normal car, but it is not an option for anyone running an HGV in the winter. An HGV not only needs to have regular maintenance checks in the winter to ensure it runs smoothly but as the driver you also need to prepare yourself for the slippery winter roads.
Preparing Your HGV
It is important that as a driver you know what to look for in winter conditions and how to fix any problems, even if your haulage company provides winter service checks. Some of the items that a check cannot help with include drivers of diesel lorry’s needing to plug in the engine block heater overnight even in milder temperatures. This is particularly important if the vehicle is going to stand still for a prolonged period of time. It is also important that you check the temperature of your vehicle closely during the winter months as the vehicle might be under or over heating due to the colder weather.
Something that you should avoid during winter is cold soaks, when the engine block and fluids drop to ambient temperatures, as this will affect the charging and starting of the entire system. To prepare your vehicle you should ensure you are using winter weight fuel. You also need to ensure you have enough de-icer, anti-freeze and other engine maintenance materials on hand to fix any issues that occur.
One of the primary aspects of preparing your vehicle is to ensure you have good tyres. You should check your tyres often as the cold temperatures can cause slippery roads where good grip is needed. The tyres should also be properly inflated as this can help grip the road.
It is not only your HGV that will be affected by the wintery conditions of the road but you as the driver as well. In order to stay safe on the roads, drivers need to adjust how they drive their vehicles. Drivers have to better plan their journey’s as additional checks have to be completed before any leg of the journey is started. The speed you drive at and the distance between vehicles need to be adjusted as will your routes should there be any flooding or snowed in patches.
As the driver, you need to know when you hit conditions you are not comfortable driving in. When you hit these conditions you have to be willing to stop. While you might not want to let the boss or customer down, you need to weigh that against your safety and everyone else’s on the roads.
Winter Survival Kits
While it is important to prepare your vehicle and yourself for the winter, you should also have a fully stocked winter survival kit for every journey. There is always a risk of getting stuck or stranded when you travel during winter. When this happens your cab is what keeps you alive so you should ensure that everything you need is available. Your winter survival kit should include:
- Strong sacking which can be placed under the wheels for extra traction in cases where you are stuck.
- A shovel to help move snow
- Warm clothing and a warm blanket to maintain body heat
- A flask of tea or coffee and some food
- A mobile phone and a car charger
- Sunglasses to counter glare when driving in snow
- A fully stocked first aid kit
- A torch with additional batteries
- A hazard triangle
Driving in wintry conditions can be daunting for any motorist. However, for HGV drivers it is important that you prepare correctly and that you know the conditions that you can drive in.