The HGV Driver Training Centre knows that HGV drivers make use of their driving skills to transport goods to their destinations safely. On top of the safety considerations is the safety of the drivers as well as the safety of other road users. However, it takes more than supreme driving skills to ensure everyone around the HGV is safe. Just like a normal vehicle, the heavy goods vehicles should be kept in roadworthy conditions. As such, you need to maintain your HGV and take the vehicle to the annual safety inspection.
Is an Annual Safety Inspection Necessary?
HGVs, unlike many of the other road vehicles, are big and complex machines. They are made of numerous systems and moving parts, which are designed to work harmoniously together and run smoothly for the overall machine to function properly. Typically, one part of the numerous system failing is enough to cause problems for the vehicle. This affects the fuel efficiency as well as the safety of the vehicle by affecting parts such as the braking system. As such, everything needs to be well maintained; from air brakes to tachographs.
Normal passenger cars need to pass an MOT every year to ensure it is road legal. In the same way, HGVs need to pass the annual safety inspection to remain road legal as well. The inspection ensures the vehicle is roadworthy and guarantees the HGV is safe to drive. Any HGV driver who has undergone the annual HGV training and has taken their HGV for the annual inspection knows all too well how thorough the testing is.
What Gets Checked?
HGV drivers are used to the daily walkaround inspections they carry out on their vehicle. However, these are simple checks and they tend to become routine. For the annual HGV inspection, however, there is a professional inspector involved who will examine your vehicle, ensuring the vehicle passes the minimum standards. They scrutinize the vehicle condition and roadworthiness by checking:
#1. Top Side
The first of the inspection covers the top side of the HGV. This inspection is conducted on a hard surface. The inspector, along with the driver will look at:
• The HGV’s identity against its VTG6 plate;
• The mirror fairings and ensuring they are in good condition and securely fixed;
• Both the passenger and drivers doors, ensuring they open and close properly and securely;
• The tyres, ensuring they are in good conditions and of the right rating for that particular vehicle;
• The spray suppressor and ensuring they are of sufficient size;
• All the lights including the repeaters, the indicators, the fog lights, and the headlights, ensuring they are aligned and operate correctly.
At this stage of the inspection, every visible part of the vehicle is thoroughly checked. The driver will be present during the inspection and will move around with the inspector as they methodically check the entire vehicle. Many of the items checked are part of a driver’s routine check. As such, you will have identified any of the problems much earlier.
#2. Under Side
After inspecting the upper part of the vehicle, the HGV is moved over to a pit to give the inspector access to the underside. During the under side inspection, they will check:
• Axle alignment;
• Air brake function;
• Foot brakes;
• Shaker plated;
• Potential fuel and oil leaks.
HGV inspectors are professionals and experts in their field. They are trained to identify any warning signs, including signs of loose bolts and wear and tear. You might think they are too rigorous, but that is what it takes to ensure road safety. As such, there is no such thing as too rigorous.
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