20 November 2020

Recent report highlights the importance of regular HGV walkaround checks

By Wright Insurance Brokers
Safety checks on truck

Frequent vehicle inspections should be a standard part of every driver’s routine before their journey. Inspecting and preparing HGVs before heading out, can help to ensure the safety of the driver and the safety of other road users.

The DVSA reported in January 2020 that 85% of lorry defects could be picked up during a HGV walkaround check. Defects that are picked up early can prevent expensive maintenance costs, time off the road, fines for unroadworthiness and accidents from happening.

In the event of an accident, evidence of adequate walkaround vehicle checks will be sought. Lack of proof may impact insurance pay-outs in the event of a claim. Although many HGV fleet operators have processes in place to ensure adequate checks are carried out, it is ultimately the driver who is responsible for the state of the vehicle they drive.

So, before you depart on your next trip, reduce some of the risks and make sure your vehicle is road ready. Here are some tips on where to start your inspection:

In-Cab Checks
  • Check that all gauges and warning lights are functioning upon start-up.
  • Turn the steering wheel back and forth to be sure there is not any excessive play.
  • Are the tachograph and speed limiter calibrated and displaying correctly?
  • Check that the horn is working.
  • Make sure the windscreen wipers and washer are in good working condition and ensure your view is free from obstruction.
Lights and Markings
  • Ensure all headlights, clearance lights, taillights, brake lights, side marker lights, number plate lights, reflectors, and indicators are clean and operational.
  • Are all vehicle reflective markings the correct colour?
  • For vehicles transporting cargo, ensure all loads are secured properly with the weight distributed across axles.
Tyres, Wheels and Couplings
  • Check that all wheel nuts are securely fastened and that tyres are at the proper pressure.
  • Check tread depth, paying special attention to any balding or irregularities such as bulging or tears.
  • Check drawbar coupling is in place and good condition.
Other External Checks
  • Check that the exhaust does not emit an excessive amount of noise or smoke.
  • Is the fuel cap fitted correctly? Turn on the engine and check underneath the vehicle for any fuel or oil leaks.
  • Check all visible wiring on electrical connections is insulated and not likely to get caught or damaged.
  • Ensure number plates are in place, clean and clearly visible.
  • Check for sounds of air leaks.

Please note this list is not exhaustive and issued for guidance purposes only.

For additional industry-specific guidance for the Transport and Haulage sector, please call 076 888 5988.

Reference: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carry-out-daily-heavy-goods-vehicle-hgv-walkaround-checks