Vehicle PreparationYour first responsibility is to ensure that your vehicle is in good working order. This is important in every season, but maintaining your HGV properly can potentially become a matter of life and death in winter. At the start of every journey, conduct basic safety checks. Make sure your wiper blades are in good working order, you have adequate levels of all fluids, and that your lights are fully operational. Confirm the condition of your breaks; if you haven’t had them serviced in a while, get them seen to by a professional. Keep up a regular schedule of maintenance checks for your HGV. If it’s been a while, the onset of winter weather is the perfect excuse to get a fresh check done. Finally, check your vehicle carefully to verify it’s clear of snow and ice before setting off. All windows and lights should be clear of obstructions. In colder weather, keep your fuel tank at least half full at all times.
Prepare A Kit For Winter DrivingWhen you’re driving a lot in winter weather, delays and halts become far more likely. You should take steps in advance to prepare for slow traffic, long journeys, and the possibility of getting snowed in. Use a large, sturdy bag to bundle up a winter driving kit. Good items to bring along include: * A full change of warm clothes * A raincoat * Hat, scarf, and gloves * A blanket * A torch (pack extra batteries, too!) * Non-perishable foods, e.g. protein or breakfast bars * A fresh first aid kit * Bottled water * Windscreen scraper and de-icer
Drive WiselyWith a vehicle in good condition and a solid supply kit for emergencies, all you need to add is an intelligent winter driver. It takes extra attention and caution to keep yourself and your load safe when the roads become wet, snowy, or icy. Experience is the finest teacher, but these general principles will help keep you and the other vehicles around you safe:
- Speed is a killer: the one factor that all winter weather conditions have in common is uncertainty. It will take longer for you to detect and respond to dangerous situations, so you should keep your speed lower than normal. Your vehicle is also adversely affected by the cold; you need to give yourself more time and space to react.
- Stop slowly: many startling driving situations tempt you to stomp on the brake with all your might, but you need to avoid this practice whenever possible in cold weather. You will not be able to maintain control over your vehicle if you have to brake hard; give yourself extra space ahead and behind so that you can brake more gradually.
- Be alert for black ice: black ice is one of winter’s biggest driving dangers, and it’s not always one you can see coming. Take extra time to inspect the road surface ahead of your vehicle and avoid icy patches whenever it’s safe to do so.
- Look to the windscreen: if weather conditions cause ice to build up in the corners of your windscreen or on your antennae, they’re also ideal for the formation of black ice on the road. Be extra alert!