Mention HGV driving to most people and they see an image in their mind of an 18-wheeler cruising along an endless motorway towards a distant horizon. While this an accurate description for the way many HGV drivers spend their working day, there are also many that find themselves manoeuvring their vehicles around tangled city-centre streets. This aspect of HGV work presents drivers with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
Coping with congestion
The difference between a motorway traffic jam and city-centre congestion is the fact that a small blockage on a city street can lead to complete gridlock in all directions for miles around. All it takes is for one inconsiderate person to pull up outside Starbucks on a double-yellow line while they go to grab a take-away coffee and the traffic flow can slow to a snail’s pace. Drivers, especially drivers of large, cumbersome vehicles, therefore need to factor in much more time than they normally would to reach their destination on time.
And then there’s the congestion charge the haulage company has to pay for the privilege of making essential deliveries. Many cities have followed London’s example and have introduced congestion charges for entering specific parts of the city in an attempt to reduce traffic and air pollution.
One of the advantages of slow moving traffic, of course, is the greatly reduced chance of a high-speed collision. There’s also a lot more going on outside your cab window than you’d see on a motorway journey, which can always be entertaining!
Contending with bicycles
Where there is congestion, there are also pedestrians, motorbikes and cyclists weaving their way through the labyrinth of slow moving vehicles in any way they can. Bikes, in particular, can whiz along the gaps at high speed while unsuspecting drivers barely manage a crawl. This is a particular problem for drivers of high vehicles who are often unable to see someone on a bike when they are close by. This is a life-threatening concern that can best be resolved by applying driving skills specifically designed for inner-city driving.
Complying with regulations
Many UK and European cities have specific regulations in place regarding the height, width and weight of vehicles crossing their boundaries. When the load you are carrying causes you to exceed the weight limit, for example, it can result in you having to take an indirect route to your final destination. Your employer will be well aware of these restrictions, allowing you to arrange the most suitable permissible route in advance.
At HGV Express, our training courses will teach you how to drive in all conditions and in all locations, including busy cities. We cover all the essentials, such as dealing with cyclists, as well as some of the more unusual aspects of inner city driving. With training centres across the UK, we can give you expert instruction that will open up career opportunities in towns and cities all over the country.