22nd August 2019

5 Things That Only HGV Drivers Will Understand

The importance of the HGV industry is often undervalued, especially when you consider that they move 98% of the goods we consume in the UK. This includes food, drinks, clothes, electronics, furniture, fuel and pretty much everything else in between. The general public don’t always recognise their commitment and what’s involved in the haulage sector and there are some things that only HGV drivers will understand. Here are five examples:

1. Braking Distances

As you know, to grind to a halt, HGV’s need around three times the distance of a car. The significantly larger size and weight of a truck makes an HGV drivers’ life more complicated and this is why they have to be even more aware of the road in front of them, to pre-empt any braking dangers. Anticipating the need to brake reduces risks of skidding, destabilising the load and jack-knifing. Other road users are not always aware of this and by braking harshly in front of a truck, they are jeopardising the safety of both parties.

2. Regulated Speeds

Another aspect that only HGV drivers will understand is that a lot of their vehicles have speed restrictors. So, when cars and other vehicles are impatiently blaring their horn for a truck to speed up or move aside, the chances are that they are that they are already at their limit. National speed limits of larger vehicles are also slower, to minimise the problems related to braking dangers.  

3. Limited Visibility

The sheer size of an HGV limits its driver’s field of vision and it is important for other road users to recognise this, particularly cyclists who appear from nowhere. ’If you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you.’ Some risk-taking travellers will even try to tailgate or slipstream behind an HGV to save fuel, but the truck driver could be completely unaware of their presence behind them and the dangers are high.

4. Tricky to Manoeuvre

During awkward delivery routes, trucks can occasionally find themselves in sticky situations, needing to perform tricky turns or movements. Only HGV drivers will understand how difficult these manoeuvres can sometimes be. With some trucks in the UK exceeding 60ft, it takes a lot of driving nous to efficiently complete these turns with minimal fuss. Drivers of smaller vehicles can often become frustrated when an HGV is stalling traffic and performing a large turn, but they are probably delivering something everybody uses day in, day out.

5. Eco Driving

HGV drivers can travel hundreds of miles every day and it’s important to be fuel efficient to reduce costs, make journeys more comfortable and help the environment. Factors that affect fuel consumption include braking, acceleration, speed, weight, wind resistance and tyre condition. Only HGV drivers will understand the emphasis of their daily checks’ procedures, which ensure vehicles are ecosafe and fit for the day ahead.

In your role as a truck driver, which things do you think only an HGV driver will understand? Let us know via the SNAP social media channels.

Josh Cousens | SNAP.

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