How to solve the biggest problems with your HGV driving career
HGV driving can be a really rewarding career move. You’re part of something much bigger than yourself, and you’ll find that few people have been to as many places as an HGV driver. So, if you like being on the road, meeting new people, seeing new places and want to be part of something big, this may be the right move for you!
However, like any job there are things you learn with experience that you’ll wish you’d known when you started. Which is why we’ve put together this list for how to solve some of the biggest problems with your HGV driving career.
Plan your days to minimise Fatigue
Time only stretches so far, and inevitably one of the main problems that HGV drivers have to deal with is meeting demanding deadlines.
Ultimately you aren’t in control of a huge number of variables. Weather, accidents, small roads, and a vast number of other external factors can create unforeseen delays.
Unsurprisingly, this can be pretty stressful for drivers, especially less experienced new recruits trying to create a good impression with a new employer. There is a fine line between doing your best and taking on too much responsibility.
Dealing with the pressure and stress of time constraints comes down to planning.
Thinking ahead means you can make more efficient use of the roads, taking into account likely traffic heavy sections of the journey, and plan out rest periods.
Proper planning will make life a lot less stressful and deadlines a lot more manageable. So, always plan ahead.
Eat Well and Exercise
Eating well and exercising are two of the most important habits for an HGV driver. Drinking water is also key – you should get as close to 2 litres per day as you can but no, coffee doesn’t count!
Sitting down for long periods of time can cause back and neck problems. But frequent exercise to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your back and shoulders will minimise these health risks.
Keeping active doesn’t have to be boring – here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
- Join a local sports club
- Go for regular walks (try to walk fast enough to get your heartrate up a bit)
- Cycling and swimming are great for keeping fit
- Try out these chair exercises (yes, really!)
At the end of each day try running through a routine of stretches and body weight exercises to loosen up any muscles that have tightened over the journey.
There are plenty of videos on Youtube to inspire you. Here’s a popular one from Healthy Trucker:
When it comes to diet, this, like time, comes down to planning. Think about when and where you are going to take your breaks along your route. If you’re on a long-haul drive, make sure you get time to eat a decent meal in the evenings.
Make contingency plans if unexpected delays catch you, and pack healthy snacks to keep you going so that you don’t have to settle for a quick Maccy D’s on the go.
Maintaining good health is the cornerstone of a long and successful career as an HGV driver so taking it seriously will bring rewards down the line. You’ll be surprised how much better a good diet will make you feel too!
Be selective about who you work for
Having a reasonable and supportive employer is really important when it comes to your career. A bad employer will make you feel undervalued, and stressed out, and you may end up feeling stuck. This causes stress and can even lead to stress-related illnesses and time off work.
At Backline Logistics, for example, we make sure to treat our employees properly with paid-for training, medical care, holiday pay, and permanent positions available with guaranteed hours and shift patterns.
There is more to a good employer that just career opportunities, good pay rates and structured shift.
A good employer should have your back when unexpected things cause delays. If you’ve done all that can be done, staying safe on the road is your main priority and your employer should support you when dealing with the client.
The best way to deal with clients is up front and with honesty. Warn people as soon as an issue arises that there might be a delay. If there is nothing you can do about it, you need to prepare the customer and not just hope the problem goes away.
Keeping on Top of Industry News
You will spend a lot of time alone in your vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you have to slowly drift in the loneliness of silence. In fact, you should take it as an opportunity to get ahead with your career.
There are hoards of Podcasts and YouTube videos, for example, that you could be listening to which cover every topic around driving and how to advance your driving career.
Here are a couple of our favourites:
Kev swapped his job in the office for a live on the road and documents his work in video form.
Alternatively you can get a little bit more general knowledge that will surely make you the beloved champion of the pub quiz.
A podcast dedicated to bringing you fun facts. The research team behind the QI whip out some of the weirder facts that you didn’t know you wanted to know.
BBC Business Daily
The BBC Business Daily program is published every weekday and covers an economic/business topic. Recent podcasts have delved into the topics of bionics, drones and driverless cars. This is a good podcast to listen to for those looking to keep up to date on technological and economic trends.
Had enough of Podcasts? Other things you can try are: listening to audiobooks, calling friends and family, and making pit stops and engaging with other drivers.
Keep on top of your training
Make sure you stay on top of your training, especially your CPC training, as without that you won’t legally be allowed to drive for a living.
To find out more about this, check out our recent blog post: 7 Quick Tips About Driver CPC
Driving can be a rewarding career, but it’s more than just a job, it becomes a lifestyle. To get the most out of it, planning and self-care, along with a good employer and work environment are vital. With these you will surely flourish.
Good employers look for reliable, professional drivers with a positive attitude and a healthy outlook on their careers. Develop these attributes and you’ll always be in high demand.
To find out more about developing your HGV driving career, take a look at some of the great benefits we offer our elite drivers on our Platinum Field Staff Partners scheme. Then make sure you get in touch with your nearest branch.