5 mistakes that will damage your HGV driving career
Ever worried you’ve made mistakes that could damage your HGV driving career?
HGV Drivers, whether experienced or new, can fall prey to bad habits just like the rest of us. The problem for drivers is that becoming overwhelmed by their workload, doesn’t just see them begin to underperform, it can lead to errors with potentially tragic outcomes.
Knowing what the risks are goes a long way to avoid them in the first place. So, in this article, we’ve outlined our top 5 mistakes that drivers make. In one way or another, they can all have a negative impact on your HGV driving career.
Making mistakes is human. When it comes to HGVs the drivers are no different. Slight lapses in concentration, or perhaps tricky driving conditions like, rain, ice or snow can easily cause even the most experienced veterans the odd problem.
Because of the sheer amount of time that professional drivers spend on the roads, they are statistically more like to get into an accident at some point in their career. We’re just exposed to more opportunities than the average road user.
It’s not just your own driving that you have to be aware of. We all have to remain vigilant of other, often less experienced or just poorly behaved, road users. They don’t all share our careful and considerate approach to driving!
Making mistakes is just part of the job. There’s no achievement without error, as someone once said.
However, how bad that mistake is, how bad the accident might end up being, is dependent often on the care that the driver takes.
You can be sure that it’ll be much worse for those drivers that are over-confident in their skills and aren’t giving the job the attention it deserves.
We once had a driver that attended a CPC course with us and was one of these drivers. Didn’t need to be there. What a waste of time it was. This is all pointless. You name it, they came out with it! A few weeks later we heard they’d put their wagon on its side going round a roundabout. Oops!
Avoid this mistake by making sure you’re comfortable, but not overly confident on the road. Humility is the cornerstone of good professionalism.
Many of the mistakes that will damage your HGV driving career can be caused by simple tiredness. There are a lot of people in the UK that fail to get the recommended 8 hours sleep a night. Stress or illness, or maybe it’s just one of those nights where the cogs in your brain won’t stop turning.
For most people, this doesn’t present much of a problem, they’ll head to their office and sit at their desk, drink a substantial amount of coffee and get on with it.
For HGV drivers the risks are far more considerable, and this problem is only going to be exacerbated by the fact drivers often find themselves driving lots of miles on tight deadlines.
Lack of sleep will inhibit your ability to do your job on multiple levels, from planning routes to the actual driving. And nodding off at the wheel – whether it’s because of lack of rest or not – presents a sizeable risk to both your safety and that of other road users.
If you have trouble sleeping, try finding ways to fix it. There are some good books on the subject these days. Check out ‘The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night’ by Dr Guy Meadows.
Not Preparing Enough
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
Preparation and organisation are vital when it comes to managing your schedule and dealing with the necessary paperwork such as you’re filling out your logs, keeping track of receipts, or form filling after you deliver a load.
To succeed, to adhere to those strict timelines, you need to account for all the potential things that might go wrong, plan out your route, arrange your stops, organise breaks, food, sleep even, and refuelling. And what happens if you run into traffic or the main road is closed?
Good preparation from the outset is paramount – thankfully there are a number of apps available on the market which can help you achieve the best results easily.
Not Looking After Yourself
A driver needs all of their tools to be in the best working condition possible. It may sound self-evident, but the driver is a fundamental part of that toolbox. You wouldn’t neglect to care for your vehicle; so why would you neglect to care for yourself?
Unfortunately, especially in newer drivers, the rigours of the job, which forces a change in lifestyle, can prove a challenge. It is vital that drivers adapt to this lifestyle, they make time to exercise, eat healthily, drink enough water and get enough rest.
Part of being a professional driver is knowing your limits, so take care of yourself. No job or amount of money is worth the risk of burning out and in the worst-case scenario, having an accident on the roads.
Lack of Communication
Whilst HGV driving can be quite solitary at times, there is always a team behind you helping organise what you are transporting.
They offer advice, help you manage your route and your end customers if unforeseen circumstances arise.
Using this resource and building good relationships with your office team and traffic managers can help make things run smoothly, so you can enjoy your job more and feel less pressure.
HGV drivers play a vital role in the logistics industry. However, there are a few key pitfalls outlined in this article that some drivers, especially newer drivers, fall into. They can be devastating for a driver’s career.
To advance as an HGV driver, just like in any job, you need to show that you can perform.
Of course, there are other mistakes that will damage your HGV driving career (some more obvious than others), but doing the basics outlined in this article will have a serious impact on your efficiency and could even lead to disastrous results.
Also, don’t forget that we keep this blog going to help you be a better driver. So, keep checking back here for more tips and advice. And we’ll do our best to provide them for you!
Image: West Midlands Police