Unless driving during winter is your idea of fun, many people will tell you that it is a challenging task. This is because the weather is deceptive: flipping between gale force winds, rain, ice, black ice, and snow at any time. These forces make driving all types of vehicles a challenging affair, let alone the big and heavy load carrying vehicles. So drivers must be careful, especially those carrying large and heavy loads.
1. Prepare Your HGV
Preparation should be the first step. It is common knowledge that you should keep your HGV in good condition in terms of repairs, no matter the time of year. This is more important before setting off on a journey. Aside from checking the engine condition, you should check the level of your fluids, your tyres, wiper blades and even lights. You should also test the vehicle’s brakes and ensure that they are working properly.
If the HGV has not had a maintenance check, you should consider booking one as soon as possible. Finally, before setting off, always check that there is no snow or ice on any of the vital parts of the vehicle such as brake light, headlights, and windows. Also, it is wise to ensure that your fuel level in the tank is more than half. This is because low fuel levels can cause problems in winter.
2. Packing a Winter Kit
If you know that you will be on the road during the winter months, chances are that you will be there for a very long time. It does not matter if you have a long journey or are stuck somewhere because of heavy snow, or simply sitting in traffic; you need to be ready for anything. You should get yourself a winter driving kit. A winter kit must include:
- A raincoat
- A warm winter clothes
- A torch and extra batteries
- Hat, scarf, and gloves
- A blanket
- A bottle of water
- Non-perishable foods
- A first aid kit
- Windscreen scraper and de-icer
3. Smart Driving
Even with all the precautions above, it is not enough; all the above are simply ways to keep yourself ready. The essential way to keep your HGV safe on the road during winter is by practising smart driving. Sadly, there isn’t any sure formula for driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. A lot of winter driving techniques you will have to learn through experience. Nevertheless, there are a few rules that you can follow to ensure that you drive more safely. These rules include:
• Drive Slowly
Keep in mind that the conditions and weather over the winter are unpredictable, and you should be able to react to any road conditions without causing damage or risk to other drivers. To avoid all these problems, driving slowly and steadily is the key. Remember, during winter, HGV tyres do not have much traction, which simply means that an HGV needs distance to stop.
• Avoid Emergency Stops
It is easy to stamp on the brakes at the last minute in an attempt to stop. However, this is a really bad idea and definitely not recommended. The solution to this problem is braking gradually while giving yourself more space or distance to stop.
• Keep an Eye Out for Black Ice
Black ice is the most dangerous element on the road during winter and it is easy to get caught by it. Always keep an eye on the road surface for black ice patches and avoid them when you can.
• Check Your Windscreen
If you notice ice building up at the top corner of the windshield or antenna, that means the conditions are ideal for black ice to begin forming.
Safety over the winter must your top concern, and a class 2 HGV licence will help you achieve this. At Easy HGV, we are proud to help drivers become safe and competent through all weather conditions. This means imparting the knowledge that safe driving is 10% quick thinking and 90% precaution. Therefore, it is wise to always plan ahead for the weather and teach yourself as much as possible about the weather conditions.