Operating a heavy goods vehicle is a highly skilled task, and one that comes with a lot of responsibility. As a lorry driver, you are operating one of the most heavyweight, dangerous vehicles on the road, which is a likely to cause a lot of damage should an accident occur. For this reason, safety is absolutely paramount to ensure the wellbeing of both yourself and the road users around you. It is both yours and your employer’s responsibility to ensure that you have adequate training and the right resources to be a safe and competent driver. Here are just a few of the ways you can ensure that you meet your requirements and become a safer driver:
- Driver Training
Additional training for lorry drivers is essential to ensure that they are aware of the added safety concerns and considerations that come with driving a heavy goods vehicle. The Fleet Operation Recognition Scheme, or “FORS”, supplies approved bronze, silver and gold training and accreditation audits for drivers in road safety. There is a dedicated centre that supplies training for HGV drivers in Bristol, where courses are available on work related road risks, legal requirements for HGV drivers, and vulnerable road user’s awareness – useful for areas with a high volume of cyclists or pedestrians.
- Take Regular Breaks
Depending on the distance you are traveling, you may only need food and coffee breaks, or sleeping breaks as well. Whatever the case may be, regular breaks are absolutely essential for a safe drive. If you are travelling long distances on a straight road, it can be easy to zone out or switch off. Breaks are imperative to ensure that you maintain your attention throughout your drive. Don’t take the risk of being responsible for the death or injury of others and take regular breaks to ensure that you remain alert. Whatever your deadline may be, it is not worth rushing, speeding or skipping an essential coffee or lunch break in order to make it on time. If you are concerned about your deadlines, you should speak to your employer. If you are an employer, never place unrealistic deadlines on your drivers, and always factor in plenty of time for breaks.
- Avoid Distractions
Whilst on a long journey it can be tempting to find ways to entertain yourself, it is essential that you remain focused and avoid distractions whilst driving. If you’re listening to music or the radio, try not to have the volume too high, as this can distract from your awareness of what is going on around you. Phone calls are best avoided whilst driving, as they take your focus off the road. For this reason, only essential calls should be made, and they should always be made using hands free mode. It is better if you can stop at a service station or truck stop to make any phone calls, as this ensures minimal distractions whilst operating your vehicle.
Driving a heavy goods vehicle comes with huge responsibility. By taking the correct precautions, you can ensure that you are a safe and responsible road user.