To guarantee their own safety – and that of other road users – HGV drivers mainly rely on their driving skills day in day out. Any HGV driver training centre will tell you you need to keep your heavy goods vehicle in good driving condition, always, just like you would with any other vehicle. You need to take your HGV through yearly inspections and keep it well maintained to ensure that it remains in perfect driving condition.
The Main Reason Behind Yearly Safety Checks
These machines – HGVs – are large and high tech. To ensure that the entire vehicle continues to operate without any issues, the many moving parts and systems within them need to work together seamlessly at all times. Problems, such as brake failure and inefficient fuel consumption, may result from inconsistencies within the overall system. Every part of the vehicle, from the tachograph to the brakes, needs to be in perfect working condition. Heavy goods vehicles need to pass a yearly safety inspection in the same way cars need to pass an annual MOT to remain on the road. Passing this inspection means the HGV is safe to drive for the next 12 months as the inspection assesses the vehicle’s roadworthiness. The testing is highly comprehensive, and quite rightly so – every HGV driver who has participated in the inspection can attest to this.
The Focus of the Inspection
A daily walk-around inspection of your vehicle should be part of your daily routine as a HGV driver. These routine checks are quite standard. On the other hand, your vehicle’s condition and roadworthiness will be assessed against a variety of minimum standards, which it needs to pass, during the annual inspection which is carried out by an inspector. The main areas of focus include:
The Top of the Vehicle
Usually carried out on a hard surface, the first part of the check focuses at the top of the HGV. The following checks are included in this part of the inspection process:
• Comparing the VTG6 plate with your HGV’s identity
• Checking the condition and fastening of the mirrors’ fairings
• Ascertaining whether the passenger and driver doors close and open properly
• Ascertaining whether the tyres in use are of the proper rating and are in good condition
• Are you using the right sized spray suppressors?
• Checking to see whether all the lights, such as headlights, indicators, fog lights and repeaters are properly aligned and in good working order.
All visible parts of the HGV are checked during this part of the inspection process. As the inspector meticulously checks each part of the outer structure and cab of the vehicle, they are accompanied by the driver. If any problems exist, the driver should have had prior knowledge as most of the elements checked are part of the routine checks conducted by HGV drivers.
The Underside Inspection
The vehicle will be moved over a pit to enable the inspector to check the underside after the topside inspection is completed. The focus of this part of the inspection process includes:
• Checking the alignment of the axle
• Checking the steering
• Checking whether the air brake is in proper working order
• Checking the condition of the shaker plates
• Checking the foot brakes
• Looking for possible fuel or oil leaks
• Checking the condition of the bearings
As trained professionals, the inspectors are trained to keep an eye out for all sorts of warning signs including loose bolts and any indications of wear. We believe that the thorough nature of these professionals is completely justified when it comes to guaranteeing safety on roads.