Home Health & Wellness HGV Driver Reveals the Biggest Driving “Irks”

HGV Driver Reveals the Biggest Driving “Irks”

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With UK drivers now amassing 330.8 billion vehicle miles a year, keeping safe while behind the wheel is more important than ever.

With this in mind, the leading fuel card provider, Right Fuel Card, has partnered with HGV temperature-controlled distribution company, Keep it Cool, to share expert insight and tips from the people who know driving better than anyone: HGV drivers.

Matthew Briggs, CEO and fuel card expert at Right Fuel Card, comments: “Driving a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is a challenging and demanding job. HGV drivers are entrusted with transporting large and heavy loads, which requires a high level of skill and safety awareness. That’s why HGV drivers are some of the best drivers around and the perfect people to share guidance and driving tips with everyday car drivers.”

What are some of the biggest irks that HGV drivers face on the road?  

Right Fuel Card surveyed professional drivers to discover what irks they face when driving amongst smaller vehicles.

The results show that car drivers cutting off HGV drivers is one of the biggest challenges they face. Car drivers usually don’t realise how much distance it takes a fully loaded truck to stop in case of an emergency; it can be twice the amount of stopping distance as a car. Not leaving enough space when pulling in front of an HGV can be extremely dangerous for both the car driver and the HGV driver, as well as surrounding vehicles.

The biggest irk, however, is drivers hogging the middle lane. It can be challenging to navigate the lanes as a HGV driver, so when there’s a middle-lane hogger to deal with on top of this, it adds an extra level of difficulty to the task.

What can other car drivers do to stay safe when driving near a HGV? 

Nikki Redhead, managing director at Keep it Cool Ltd., explains:

1. Be aware of blind spots

Nikki advises: “On the motorway, other drivers need to be aware of HGV blind spots. While a HGV driver will check their blind spots before making a move, lingering in its blind spot can be dangerous.

“There are four key areas of ‘limited visibility’ for HGV drivers, at the front, the rear, and each side of the vehicle.” If you cannot see the truck drivers side mirrors you are most likely in a blind spot.

We always advise motorists to either stay a distance behind the HGV and overtake if it’s safe to do so, but do not stay alongside it for too long.

2. Keep a safe distance

Nikki says: “In built-up areas, motorists usually aren’t aware of how much room it takes for a truck to operate (turning left or right at a tight traffic light means the truck may have to manoeuvre across the entire width of the road, for example). Hold back and give the HGV time to complete their move.

“As a general rule, drivers are urged to follow the ‘two-second rule’, leaving at least two seconds between yourself and the driver in front. This should also be increased in wet or frosty conditions. ”

3. Take breaks

Nikki says: “Professional drivers have very strict rules as to how long they can drive for each day, how many breaks they must have and when to take them. Drivers must only drive for nine hours per day, which can be extended to 10 hours twice a week. There’s a weekly limit of 56 hours, as well as a limit of 90 hours for two consecutive weeks.

“Drivers must also have at least 11 hours rest every day, an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week and a 45-minute break for every 4.5 hours of driving. Rest is essential to ensure that accidents (such as those caused by falling asleep at the wheel) can be avoided, and the driver is working as safely as possible for themselves, and those around them.

“Car drivers should take note, whilst it’s unlikely they’d regularly be driving for the same length of time as HGV drivers – it is still extremely important when operating any vehicle to ensure you’re well rested, and feeling alert enough for the journey ahead. Be sure to schedule breaks into any long journey, and give yourself time to rejuvenate, stretch your muscles, and prepare for the next leg of the trip.”

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