With their larger size and the added danger when on the road, heavy vehicles require a lot more care and skill to drive. Accidents are far more damaging to others around you, and the potential for loss of life is great when you’re in the driver’s seat of a large, difficult to handle vehicle – staying aware and in control is of the utmost importance.
Follow a few of these tips when you’re on the road and ensure the safety of yourself and everyone around you.
Keep Your Distance
For most vehicles, observing the two second rule is crucial to maintaining a safe following distance. Heavy vehicle operators cannot generalise so easily and must be certain to take extreme care when following to ensure that, if they do have to stop in a hurry, they will not be putting themselves or others in danger.
Regularly Check Your Vehicle
One of the most important things you can do before heading out is making sure that your vehicle won’t be running on any broken, worn down or damaged parts. Check the brakes and brake drums regularly, make sure your vehicle is carefully maintained and adhere to any and all warrant of fitness regulations. Anytime you experience a mechanical failure on the road, others are immediately in danger. Particular attention should be given to the vehicle’s braking capacity. With a heavy vehicle fitted with brake drums, a brake in which the friction is caused by a set of shoes or pads pressing against the inner surface of a rotating drum, shoes or pads need to be checked regularly for wear and tear and adjustment of the braking system may be required to ensure that the braking is achieved in a timely and safe manner as soon as the brakes are applied by the driver. Avoid problems before they occur by regularly checking your vehicle and keeping it in the best possible shape for handling any weather or load.
Be Aware of Those Behind You
On rural roads, motorways and highways, knowing what’s going on around you can help you to avoid becoming a danger and inconvenience to other road users. If you’re travelling with a heavy load, often you won’t be able to maintain a speed that’s as fast as you’d like. When you have people behind you, it’s a good idea to pull to the left and slow down to let them pass; overtaking can be a huge hassle and safety issue when you aren’t actively aware of your surroundings as a heavy vehicle operator.
By understanding the risks and the reason that certain regulations are in place, you can ensure that every journey you embark on is a safe one. Take care on the road and realise the enormity of the responsibility you undertake every time you are behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle as its driver or operator.