As the driver, you’re responsible for making sure your HGV vehicle is safe to drive, meaning you need to carry out a walkaround check of the vehicle before your journey to make sure it’s safe. You should report any defects in writing to the person in charge of sorting out vehicle defects in your organisation; as the police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers can stop you to do checks.
Check inside the vehicle
- Mirrors and glass
You need to check that the windscreen is not: cracked, scratched, discoloured, you should also check that the windscreen and front side windows are not excessively tinted.
Check that all mirrors are in place and not damaged or missing glass, obscured, insecure and f a camera system is used instead of a mirror, check that it works and the view is correct.
- Windscreen wipers and washers
Make sure the windscreen wipers work and ensure that you check that they are not missing
damaged or worn and ensure the windscreen washer is working.
- Front view
Check that no objects get in the way of your front view, as a general rule, there should be nothing in the swept area of the windscreen wipers. Some official stickers and road safety items are allowed, as long as they do not block your view of the road, for example, operator licence disc.
- Dashboard warning lights and gauges
You should check that the following are all working correctly instruments, gauges, warning lights – including the engine warning, emissions system, anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic braking system (EBS).
You need to ensure that the steering wheel moves properly and that the power-assisted steering works correctly, it has no excessive play and it does not jam. Also, check that there’s no excessive lift or movement in the steering column.
Check that the horn works and is easily accessible from the driver’s seat.
- Brakes and air build-up
Check that the air builds up correctly and the warning system works, there should be no air leaks, the footwell should be clear, the service brake operates both the tractor and trailer brakes, the service brake pedal does not have an excessive side play or is missing loose or incomplete anti-slip tread.
- Height marker
Check the correct vehicle height is displayed on the vehicle height marker in the cab. Remember, the height can change, for example, when the fifth wheel is adjusted, or if the trailer is loaded, unloaded or reloaded.
Check that the seatbelts do not have any cuts, damage, or fraying that may stop them from working, they stay secure when you plug them in and retract against you when fitted, and fully retract when you take them off.
Check outside the vehicle
- Lights and indicators
Check that all the lights and indicators work correctly, all lenses are fitted, marker lights are fitted and work, and the right colour stop lamps come on when you apply the service brake and go out when you release it.
- Fuel and oil leaks
Check that the fuel filler cap is fitted correctly and turn on the engine and check underneath the vehicle for any fuel or oil leaks.
- Battery security and conditions
Check that the battery of your HGV vehicle is secure, in good condition and is not leaking.
- Diesel exhaust fluid (AdBlue)
You need to ensure that your diesel vehicle has enough AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid and top up if necessary.
- Excessive engine exhaust smoke
Ensure that you check the exhaust is not emitting an excessive amount of smoke.
- Security of body and wings
Check that all the fastening devices work, the cab doors and trailer doors are secure when closed, the body panels of the trailer are secure and not likely to fall off, the landing legs (if fitted) are secure and not likely to fall off while driving, the side guards and rear under-run guards are fitted if required, and that they’re not damaged.
- Spray suppression
If spray suppression flaps are required, you should check that they are fitted, secure, not damaged and not clogged with mud or debris.
- Tyres and wheel fixing
Check that the tyres and wheels are secure, the tyres have a tread depth of at least 1mm
the tyres are inflated correctly, there are no deep cuts in the tyre’s sidewall, there is no cord visible anywhere on the tyre and all-wheel nuts are tight enough. You can check if wheel nut indicators (if fitted) have moved to do this and there are no objects or debris trapped between the twin wheels.
- Brake lines and trailer parking brake
You should ensure that the couplings are free from debris and are in the right place, there are no leaks, there is no damage or wear to the brake lines and the parking brake for the trailer works.
After the initial brake test, leave the engine running so pressure can build up, which will make it easier to hear any leaks as you carry out the rest of the walkaround check.
- Electrical connections
Check each connection and make sure that all visible wiring is insulated, the visible wiring is not likely to get caught or damaged, all electrical trailer couplings are connected securely and all electrical switches work correctly.
- Coupling security
You should check that your vehicle is securely attached to your trailer and that the trailer is located correctly in the fifth wheel or coupling and the secondary locking devices are in the correct position.
- Security of load
Check that the load of your HGV does not move and is not likely to move and make sure you use the right type of load securing system for the load. If you’re not happy with how the load is secured or how stable it is, ask the person in charge of vehicle safety to get a competent person to assess it, reload or resecure it if necessary.
- Number plate
Check that the number plate is not broken or incomplete, incorrect or spaced incorrectly, dirty, faded or covered over by anything.
Ensure that the reflectors (including side reflectors) are not missing, broken, insecure, fitted incorrectly, the wrong colour, obscured by dirt or other objects.
- Markings and warning plates
Check that the vehicle’s markings (including conspicuity markings) are the right colour, visible, securely fastened, not obscured by dirt or other objects.
If the vehicle is carrying dangerous goods, check that the hazard information panels show the correct information for the load, are visible, securely fastened, not obscured by dirt or other objects,