On a long haul road haulage job, a lorry driver can be on the road for days or even weeks. That’s a long time for something to go wrong with your lorry – and if you are stuck by the side of the road waiting for help and paying for repairs, you and your company will be losing time and money.
Luckily, most common problems with lorry breakdowns can be avoided with some simple, regular vehicle maintenance. Before going on any road haulage job, every lorry driver should make sure that their rig is in top condition. It may seem like a chore but it is well worth the effort in the long run. Below is a basic checklist of the things you need to look at before a job.
Check that your load is well secured and evenly distributed. An uneven load can cause problems with the handling of your lorry, and an unsecured load can be dangerous when it needs to be unloaded. If you are undertaking groupage or taking on a return load, make sure that every new load that goes into your lorry is just as well secured as the first.
Test the air pressure of the tires on your lorry with a tyre pressure gauge to make sure that they are not over or under inflated. Check them for to see if they are worn down and need replacing, and also note any unusual patterns of wear – this can indicate a problem with inflation levels or wheel alignment. Naturally, make sure you also check them for nails and other pieces of embedded debris, and you should make sure your spare tyre is in good condition as well.
In most countries, it is an offence to drive with a broken light on your vehicle, and a lorry with a broken light can be especially dangerous for other road users. Before you go, make sure you check that every light on your lorry is fully functional, including headlights, brake lights and indicators.
Check your engine oil, washer fluid, radiator, transmission fluid and brake fluid before taking on any road haulage job. If any of them need changing, then do so! If your oil and filter are fine at the start of your journey but are like to need changing by the end, make sure you get them changed before you go.
Heating and Air Conditioning
On a long haul journey, you want to be as comfortable as possible, especially since you’ll probably be sleeping in your cab. If it is summer, check the air conditioning, and if it is winter, make sure your heating is working well and that you have enough blankets and bedding to keep you warm.
You may think of your windscreen wipers as not worth checking, but driving in a lorry for eight hours in torrential rain with broken or faulty wipers is not fun! Before going on any road haulage job, check that they are fully working and in good condition – it may even be worth stowing a spare set in your lorry, just in case.