Getting Your Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Prepared For Winter
If you have an HGV Training vehicle, or even know someone else with one, you are probably aware that a great deal of work needs to be done to get it ready for the cold winter months. Often, people won’t bother with the necessary winter preparations on their vehicles, instead choosing to simply continue like they normally do and tackle any problems as they come up. For a regular car, this can be okay, even if it is not recommended, however, if you drive an HGV, this is not even an option. Not only do these vehicles need regular checkups for maintenance to keep running, but drivers will need to be extra cautious during the winter months as they often bring slippery, dangerous weather conditions.
Preparing Your Vehicle
Although many hauling companies offer winter service checks, as a driver, it is always important to understand what to watch out for and be able to fix minor problems if they occur while you are out driving. For example, if your vehicle has a diesel engine, it’s important to plug in the heater for your engine block every night, even if the temperature seems warm. The longer your vehicle is left sitting without running, the more crucial plugging it in becomes. You should also remember to monitor the temperature of your vehicle closely when it is cold to ensure it is running well, and not overheating or running cold.
Avoid doing a cold soak. This happens when the engine block and fluids drop down to the ambient temperature after sitting unused for a time. This will affect how well the vehicle starts as well as any charging systems used by the engine. Make sure the fluids you use are “winter weight” and that you have ample amounts of anti-freeze, de-icer, and any other common engine maintenance materials on hand. Since freezing temperatures can cause slippery roads, make sure you check the condition of your
Your vehicle isn’t the only thing that can be affected during winter. Operators and drivers need to ensure they adjust how they work and drive if they want to remain safe. Extra checks will need to be made before setting out on a trip, so make sure to include this factor in your timetables. Distances and driving speed will also need to be adjusted, and you may need to alter routes to get around snow, ice, or flooding. If at any time you feel uncomfortable driving in the current weather conditions, stop. You may fear to let down your boss or customers, but safety – both yours and those you encounter, is more important and most people are understanding.
Winter Essentials: Pack A Survival Kit
In addition to ensuring both you and your vehicle are ready for winter conditions, it’s also a good idea to prepare a small winter survival kit to keep in your vehicle. When the weather deteriorates, which can happen in a moment throughout the UK, there comes a risk of becoming stranded or stuck. If you find yourself in this type of situation, the cab of your vehicle is your key to survival, so it’s important to have the essentials on hand. Essential items to keep in your cab during winter include:
Strong sacking that can be placed under your wheels. This can provide traction if you become stuck in snow or mud.
- Warm clothing
- A warm blanket
- A flask of coffee or hot tea, snacks
- A cell phone and its charger
- Sunglasses – snow can cause a great deal of glare when it reflects the sun
- Basic first aid set
- Hazard triangle
- Torch and extra batteries
It can be daunting for any motorist to hit the road when the weather is snowy or icy, but if you drive an HGV, it is crucial to be prepared and have confidence in your abilities and knowledge.