Heavy haulage operations operate all over the UK and internationally too. Simply put, heavy haulage refers to the process of moving oversized items such as boats, caravans, construction machinery and other abnormal loads from A to B. These items often cannot travel on the road without a special permit which heavy haulers can provide.
Haulage companies use a specialist fleet of vehicles to move your load safely and efficiently. Agricultural businesses and construction companies are two of the main customers, however, heavy haulage can also be used for domestic clients, such as those who need help transporting their boat or caravan.
But what are the people driving these haulage vehicles? To be a successful driver you need to stay safe at all times, not only for your safety but for the safety of other road users too. So, what should drivers do to stay safe? Read on for all you need to know.
Road safety for heavy haulage
Staying safe on the road is key. Drivers have to stay alert at all times and be able to forsee events on the road. Being a good haulage driver means respecting the rules of the road and taking care of the vehicle. Read on for our top road safety tips.
It may sound obvious, but height restrictions are there for a reason. Never interpret these warnings as simply precautionary measures, they are there for your own safety. Low bridges and tight roads can cause real problems for heavy haulage trucks, especially when drivers attempt to go through them despite warnings. Height, weight and width restrictions are there to stop vehicles that are too big from entering dangerous territories such as tight roads or unsteady bridges. Ignoring signs can result in serious collisions, injuries and damage. Plus, even the most experienced of drivers may find it very difficult manoeuvring the vehicle out of one of these situations!
Stick to speed limits
It’s important that you stick to a safe speed limit while driving. Heavy vehicles often have different guidelines than regular cars, with a reduced speed limit that ensures the vehicle is safe on the road. When carrying heavy loads this can make the vehicle more unsteady and the driver may find that they lose control a lot easier due to the extra weight. These restrictions will vary between motorways, carriageways and built-up areas so always adhere to them fully.
Plan your route beforehand
Before you set off you need to plan your route. As mentioned, this will help you find the safest but most efficient route to your destination, avoiding restricted areas and making you feel confident about the journey ahead. If you’re unsure about where you’re going, this can potentially make you dangerous on the road. Without a clear idea of where you’re going, you may end up making irrational decisions so you don’t miss your exit or turn. Furthermore, planning you route and checking this one final time before you set off, will make you aware of any changes on route such as diverted traffic or closed lanes.
Keep an eye on the weather
Driving in bad weather conditions is bad enough when you’re in a car, let alone in a heavy haulage truck. Rain, wind, snow and even sun can affect the conditions of the road. As you would with your journey route, also check on the weather before you leave. Depending on the weather you may need to alter your route to one that’s safer or bring along extra equipment in case of an emergency.
Personal safety for haulage drivers
As well as how you drive and act on the rad, you also need to think about your own safety too. Whether you’re driving for hours or just to the other side of the city, ensuring that you’re fit to drive should also be a top priority. Here we explain some of the best personal safety tips for driving heavy haulage vehicles:
Take regular breaks
Everyone is entitled to a break, including drivers. Never keep on trucking just so you can finish the job faster, yes, you can make the customer happy but you could also be putting yourself in danger. Scheduled breaks allow you to rest up, get something to eat and recharge before you get back on the road. Drivers should use designated stopping areas, service stations and other safe destinations as a place to stop for their break. Many of these places also have shower facilities and toilets so you can freshen up.
Don’t use your phone
According to government guidelines, it is illegal to hold a phone, sat nav or similar device while driving. You must use these items on a hands-free setting such as Bluetooth, voice command, using a windscreen mount or utilising your built-in satnav system and it must not block your view of the road. Holding your phone while you drive means you are not concentrating on the road or in full control of the vehicle. It can be tempting to scroll on your phone, especially if you are driving for a long period or stuck in traffic. However, remember that you are operating heavy machinery that requires your full attention and eys on the road. Failure to do so could land you with 6 penalty points, a £200 fine and a revoked licence.
Safety tips for other road users
So, now we’ve covered what haulage drivers can do to stay safe, it’s time to talk about other road users. Although it’s the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle safely, other drivers should also act accordingly. Here we explain safety tips that other drivers should follow when driving near heavy vehicles.
Keep a safe distance
Always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the truck. Driving too close means the truck driver might not be able to see you clearly when they turn or change lanes. Increasing the distance also means you have more time to react, such as breaking on time, reacting if the vehicle starts to roll backwards or moving out of the way during an emergency situation.
Be aware of blind spots
Large vehicles have more blind spots than regular cars, this means you could be driving in a space where you cant be seen. Keeping a safe distance allows drivers to spot you in their wing mirrors and be careful when overtaking.
Look out for wide turns
Size haulage trucks are much bigger in size, they need more space when turning. A truck may need to swing left in order to turn right so keep that distance and wait back until they have turned. Don’t try to squeeze around them as they might not see you and could end up hitting your car.
SG Haulage: The best heavy haulage company in Lincoln
Are you a construction business that needs help transporting heavy machinery? Thinking of going on a boat trip but need to move your boat? Here at SG Haulage, we’re the experts in heavy haulage locally, nationally and internationally. Our fleet of professional haulage vehicles are ready to deliver your cargo without any hiccups. We’re constantly improving our operations to ensure our clients receive the best possible service at an affordable price.
We’re proud to be a part of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) which demonstrates our professionalism and dedication to the industry. For more information about our services, get in touch today.