Even if we don’t get a white Christmas this year, we’re still very likely to experience the ice, snow and freezing temperatures of British winter at some point over the next couple of months. All drivers know they need to be prepared for the onset of wintery weather, but for HGV drivers it’s even more important, because your large vehicle can both suffer and cause more damage than a car if you don’t take extreme care.
It’s not just about your driving, it’s also knowing you’re fully equipped for your journey in a way that you don’t need to be during summer. Here’s our essential guide to getting ready for those long winter drives.
If your company checks vehicles over in preparation for winter, you’re already most of the way there when it comes to making sure it’s fit for the weather. The main thing to check is your tyres; do you have the right tread for winter? Now is the time to make sure. Remember that an HGV that sits still for a long time in the cold is much more likely to experience problems when you try to start it up again, so for diesel engines plugging in a block heater overnight is crucial.
Constant temperature regulation is also needed to make sure your HGV carries on running smoothly, and vehicles can both freeze up and overheat in difficult winter conditions.
If you don’t have de-icer, anti-freeze, grit and a shovel, you’re asking for trouble. Get all these and maybe even some tough sacks or pieces of cloth to put under your wheels for traction if you get stuck. For your own safety and comfort, having a torch, thermos flask, gloves, a warm coat you can spent some time outside in if necessary, and a portable phone charger are all essential items.
In case you can’t get signal (which can happen in remote areas in poor weather) always have a road atlas as well as having your route saved off-line in Google Maps on your phone if possible. Take a blanket in case you need to unexpectedly spend the night parked up in the middle of nowhere, and bring sunglasses because driving in the snow during the daytime can play havoc with your eyes.
We hope you never need most of these things, but it’s much better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them. Have a peaceful winter drive.
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