You can definitely feel the temperature drop this last week or two and so at O’Donnell Commercials truck and trailer parts Ireland, with our HGV Winter Safety Tips 2021 we are getting you prepared for the arrival of winter. Although it is still autumn, preparation is always key and getting ahead of yourself.
Before you even get into your cab, you need to make sure you are prepared for everything or anything that may arise. Because the weather in Ireland and the UK can change without a seconds warning, you could easily start your journey in chilly sunshine and end up in sleet, hail or snow. So a key thing is to prepare a kit that includes:
- Ice scraper – De-icer
- A shovel/spade and a bag of salt
- Jump leads
- A torch / flashlight
- A high visibility jacket and hazard triangles
- A warm blanket and dry, warm clothes
- Long-life food and water
- At least half a tank of fuel at all times
It is recommend the following winter kit should be kept in all cabs: bottled water, energy bars or other non-perishable food, first aid supplies, gloves, a blanket, a “Hazard” warning sign and a flashlight / torch. Should your vehicle stop working and you are stranded, this kit will help keep you safe and comfortable.
Check and Double Check
It goes without saying that you should be doing your regular vehicle checks on every journey to make sure your HGV is running correctly and safely. But in winter, you will need to adjust your regular check routine to include some winter safety concerns. Most importantly, you should check your:
- Tyres for pressure, balance and wear
- Battery power and charging system
- Windscreen wipers are working, in good condition and free from ice and snow
- Fluid levels are topped up – antifreeze coolant
- Lights are fully functional
- Exhaust to ensure it’s clear of ice, snow or any other build-up
- Defrosters, to make sure they’re all working
Some issues like fluid leaks may only become apparent when the engine has warmed, so be vigilant and don’t just assume that if it was all good in the morning, it’ll be grand for the whole day. It can be tempting, when it’s raining or cold out, to skip the pre-checks of the external of the vehicle, but this is when it is most important to get it done.
Keep An Eye On The Weather
Weather forecasts may not be 100% accurate all of the time, but at least it keeps you informed. Make sure you have weather apps installed on your phone, with alerts enabled to keep you up to date. Check the weather before you leave for all the stops along your route, as well as the weather in your final destination. As an HGV driver, the weather is one of those aspects of your job you just can’t afford to ignore. Below is a list of apps you can try out on your phone
- Met Éireann (iPhone, Android, free) Best for accuracy and local forecasts.
- Weather (iPhone, free) Good for integration with Maps app.
- Weather & Radar UK/Ireland (Android, iPhone, free)
- YR (iPhone, Android, free)
- Accuweather (iPhone, Android, free)
I know this seems a bit obvious, but in winter weather you should always drive more carefully. Even in the weather looks clear, there could still be ice on the roads that can cause a real problem for a vehicle as big as yours. Wet, patches of ice, sudden rains and more can cause serious accidents. In fact, 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during the winter months. So make sure you are driving slower, allowing extra space between vehicles, and driving smoothly on the roads.
When it comes to driving in extreme weather it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Remember, speed limit signs are maximums, not guidelines!
Allow extra space
During ice and snow allow as much as ten times the normal stopping distance.
Poor weather often comes with decreased traction which lowers your overall control of the vehicle. Maintain a steady speed, don’t make any sudden turns and keep a comfortable distance between you and the vehicle in front to allow for plenty of time to react appropriately.
Final thought . . . HGV Winter Safety Tips 2021
You might be on a tight schedule, with pressure on to make all of your deliveries on time, but that’s no reason to put yourself or others in danger. Sometimes you just need to stop driving until the worst of the conditions pass. But there is a good time to stop driving, and a bad time to stop, and its important to recognise the difference. If visibility is low and driving conditions are severe, make sure you don’t stop on the hard shoulder. This will just increase your chances of not being seen and being hit. Instead, drive carefully to a safe place or service station and wait until visibility increases.
More up to date checks available here from the RSA – click here!
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