Don’t Get Blown Away With the Arrival of Winter. 
Storm Ali  has heralded the arrival of the 2018 winter season and with that the Professional Driver must make sure that the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the job is done in a safe and efficient way. Give plenty of room and time  for cyclists and pedestrians to get about safely. High gusts can blow them off course.  
For the Professional Driver harsh driving conditions are both physically and mentally demanding. There are a number of concerns for Drivers but the main one for most Professional Drivers is when to go and when to stay put. While the RSA and the AA will tell you to use ‘Caution’ and ‘Only travel when it is absolutely necessary’ Professional Drivers are very aware of their responsibility to ensure that if they do travel that they take all of the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. The pressures on the driver can be great, they are aware that raw materials have to get to factories ensure that they remain open and that fuel deliveries, essential food deliveries, milk collections and the like have to be made regardless of weather conditions. The onus is on the Professional Driver to make the travel call. However can it be a little unfair to place such a responsibility on the individual driver to make that call?
The Professional Driver is not just concerned about the Driving conditions that effect the stability of their vehicle on the road but they are also aware of the conditions that other roads users are experiencing. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and the elderly can find these conditions very difficult to cope safely with and do not understand the danger posed by being in the vicinity of a HGV . It is not alone the driving conditions that the professional Driver has to cope with but they have to cope with the loading and unloading of goods in these conditions. They also have to make decisions as to where to park up for breaks and daily rest to keep compliant with Drivers Hours regulations.

10 Top Tips For Professional Drivers

  1. Be prepared for the unexpected. You might have to stay out longer than planned so make sure you have the water and food to sustain you in the event of you getting held up in an isolated area. Pack extra clothing in the event of you getting very wet while loading or outside.
  2. Keeping you speed down will increase vehicle stability and reduce fuel consumption.
  3. Its wind gusting that destabilises you vehicle.  Exposed areas, such as on high ground or bridges are more susceptible to wind gusting. And you can get caught out very quickly. Always keep both hands on the wheel and reduce speed in these areas. Be mindful when opening and closing curtains and doors, they can easily be blown out of your hand.
  4. While high sides vehicles are more difficult to manage in high wind conditions. Drivers of Car Transporters are only too aware of the damage that debris from trees and roof tops can do to shiny new cars.  
  5. When driving on very wet roads make sure that you keep your wheel spray low by decreasing speed. This will stop the spray from reducing the visibility of other motorists. Remember not all drivers on the road are accomplished, there are plenty of inexperienced and novice drivers out there.
  6. Make sure you have good visibility and that you can also be clearly seen by other road users. This might mean packing extra cleaning cloth to keep side markings, light lenses and mirrors clean.
  7. In built up areas you have to give extra room for cyclists and pedestrians to make mistakes, they can easily be blown off course so give them plenty of room.
  8. When opening cab doors or trailer doors be mindful of wind direction and wind force. Once a strong wind gets hold of a door you may not be able to stop it from moving. It is essential that you secure trainer and body doors firmly when opened.  Again extras caution should be taken when loading and unloading any item with a large surface area. Particularly dangerous are curtain siders when they are unsecured and the wind starts blowing them about.  They will easily take a person off their feet or knock them to the ground.   
  9. Remember outside noise levels increase substantially in the wet. You won’t hear normal engine, transmission or tyre noise. Therefore extra attention should be paid to your instrument readings, oil pressure, turbo pressure, engine temperature, transmission oil temp and any other dial or digital readings that are available to you. When out side your vehicle, check wheel hubs for signs of over heating.  
  10. Remember its better to arrive at your delivery or collection depot later than scheduled than to arrive at your life’s final destination earlier than planned!