As summer gives way to autumn we enter into a period of unpredictability with regards to the weather conditions on the roads (although, it could be argued that the UK summer has its own share of unpredictability when it comes to weather!). Added to the fact that the roads will once again be filled with those on the daily commute or school run after time away over the holidays and autumn remains a time of year to ensure that you have your wits very much about you when driving an HGV, large vehicle or, for that matter, anything else on the road.
Keeping yourself and other road users as safe as possible is therefore of paramount importance when we get behind the wheel and, with changing conditions with which to contend, here are a few tips to consider for a safer journey.
Keep an eye on the forecasts
Autumn is a funny old time of year and for travelling long distances on the road, it’s not uncommon to experience the weather of all four seasons on one trip; with conditions fluctuating through each leg of the journey. With this in mind, we’d always recommend that you make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecasts before setting off; and maybe even checking them periodically on the radio en route.
Obviously, you’ll know to where you are heading before you get into your lorry so you should be fully aware of the places, roads and motorways on your trip – so get on the internet, check the TV or radio and be aware of what you might have to encounter. You can’t do anything to change the weather but if you’re prepared for a sudden change from sun to rain, for example, then at least you’re mind is tuned in to your driving conditions.
Control Your Driving Distances
It’s a basic safety tip whatever season you happening to be driving in but autumn is no different. A fundamental way to try and remain safe when driving is to ensure you’re keeping your distance between you and the vehicle in front. Again, with fluctuating weather and driving conditions that can occur in autumn there is always the likelihood that cars may find themselves breaking suddenly and, really, the last thing you want to be doing is slamming down on the breaks of your big old HGV. For one, heavy breaking can be thoroughly uneconomical on fuel and, more importantly, by allowing adequate distance you can ensure a safer way of slowing so you avoid collision and control the breaking speed of cars and vehicles behind you also.
Beware the Glare!
Heading out first thing in the morning during the autumn months can be a beautiful time to be on the road – the golden sky lighting up the brilliant autumnal colours of the roadside trees and foliage. But it comes with its own perils. Autumn sun can hang low and very much in the eye line, causing a glare that can hamper vision. And, if it’s been raining that morning then the issue in heightened as that pesky sun can reflect dazzlingly off the tarmac and make vision all the more problematic. So use that visor and keep the sun glasses handy when driving to help against the glare.
Planning Your Route
Obviously you know where you need to go on your HGV delivery. Nevertheless, ensuring that you have devised a good journey plan before you set off can help make your journey more efficient, less stressful and, crucially, safer. Are you heading east? Well, in conjunction with the point above, do you need to plan to set off that much earlier to avoid driving directly into a strong sunrise? What about driving into city traffic or commuter runs? Working out where and when you are likely to be in any given place allows you to be aware of the types of conditions you might face and, importantly, can help you avoid potential hot spots wherever possible.