Are you thinking about starting a new career and becoming a HGV driver? Changing careers and starting any new challenge can be a daunting task.
Driver Unlimited have come up with a few great tips for new drivers:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you are not sure about anything just ask somebody. There are lots of things that a new driver won’t know or won’t have come across before. Every driver was new once and has to start somewhere – as they say – you don’t know if you don’t ask
If you need help just ask
Don’t struggle with something on your own. If you feel that you need help with something no matter how small then just ask. There are plenty of people willing to help like warehouse staff, other drivers, office staff.
Take your time and don’t rush
It is far better to complete a job correctly and ensure that you have followed the correct procedure than to rush about and worry about how quick you are working. If you see somebody doing a job quicker than yourself don’t worry about it, just concentrate on your own work. Everyone works at different speeds and you will probably find that as you gain more experience your speed will naturally increase.
Better to be safe than sorry
Safety is so important within Haulage that it cannot be underestimated in anyway. Safety always comes first – before any delivery, deadline or whatever the pressure. Do not cut corners as it is never worth it. Your safety and the safety of other road users must always be a priority.
Get plenty of exercise in between driving
Being on the road for so long can result in a lot of sitting down and little movement. In order to stay fresh and healthy it is important to get as much exercise as possible in between driving as it will help to increase circulation, keep you healthy and also help to keep you more alert and awake at the wheel.
Don’t be too over confident (things can happen)
Never take things for granted, being confident is good but problems can arise at any time. Taking your eye off the ball even for a moment could have a detrimental effect on your own or someone else’s life.
Ensure your load is safe (don’t just take someone’s word for it)
As a driver it is your responsibility to ensure that your load is secure. Just because a warehouse operator says it is secure doesn’t mean it is. The law won’t except any excuse, so before you head off you must do all the checks to ensure your load is safe and secure.
Do not drive over tired
You know your body better than anyone else. If you are feeling tired, don’t risk it. Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related with about 40% of those accidents involving commercial vehicles. Take regular breaks and never start a long journey if you are feeling tired.
Every driver had to start somewhere, only time and experience will help. Try to stay calm and relaxed and keep a positive mind-set. Working away from home and being on the road can sometimes be a lonely place so try to stay calm and positive to help maintain a healthy mind.