The arrival of spring is welcomed by just about everyone, including HGV drivers. That said, like all other seasons, spring brings its own driving considerations and hazards.
Here, Walker Movements share their experience of the three main ones and a guide on how to deal with them safely.
The start of spring is also the start of the main period for road maintenance and repair. This in itself creates a hazard for drivers. It also increases the likelihood of traffic bottlenecks.
Spring is also the time for spring getaways, particularly around bank holidays. These increase the overall level of traffic on the roads. This increase is, however, likely to be greatest around popular tourist areas.
Additionally, while spring weather is generally much kinder than winter, it can still be challenging. In particular, spring is known for rain and that can bring floods, if only on a very small scale.
It’s important to take these factors into consideration when planning routes. It’s also important to be able to update routes quickly if circumstances demand it. Having an HGV-specific GPS can help a lot with this.
Protecting vulnerable road users
Spring brings out more cyclists and pedestrians, making it crucial for drivers to be extra cautious on the road. They should keep a safe distance from cyclists and be aware of blind spots. Pedestrians can also be hard to spot, especially during rainy or foggy weather. Drivers should slow down when approaching pedestrian crossings and be prepared to stop.
It’s fairly rare for HGV drivers to encounter horses on the road. HGV drivers tend to stick to major roads as much as possible while horse riders try to avoid them. It is, however, still possible. It’s also possible if you have to come off the main roads to make a delivery.
Be especially cautious when driving past horses. They vary widely in their comfort in traffic. Even horses in cities, who are used to cars, may not like HGVs. Driving past as slowly as you can, will help to keep everyone safe. It will also help to give HGV drivers a positive image in the eyes of horse-riders.
Getting enough rest
In spring, daylight arrives earlier (especially now that the clocks have changed) and days get longer. Again, this is generally welcomed by most people, including HGV drivers. It can, however, create a challenge when it comes time to sleep.
It doesn’t help that spring is also the time when people start to stay outdoors until much later in the day. They may not think they are making a lot of noise. In fact, objectively, they may be right. They may, however, still be making more noise than you’d like when you’re trying to get to sleep.
If you do need to sleep on the road, therefore, be prepared for it. Bring an eye mask and earplugs so that you can create darkness and quiet for yourself. Also, keep an extra blanket for comfort as spring nights can still be cold.
You may also find it helpful to create a pre-rest routine for yourself. This can help to persuade your body and mind that it’s time to wind down no matter what else is happening.