Anyone who drives an HGV or LGV will know just how important carrying out daily walkaround checks is to ensure safety and DVSA compliance. Daily vehicle checks must be carried out by each driver operating an HGV or LGV before taking it on the road; failure to do so can lead to fines or licence points. An HGV’s trailer should be thoroughly checked both internally and externally, with careful attention paid to the load capacity. But what else should drivers check before setting off on their journey?
In this guide, we will explain why daily walkaround checks for trailers are so important, and some of the checks that should be performed. We will also explore the AssetGo app, and why you should switch to digital HGV walkaround checklists today.
The importance of daily trailer checks
Both the cab of the HGV and the attached trailer should be checked daily for faults and defects. This can be achieved by using a premade checklist to ensure all relevant parts of the HGV are being thoroughly checked for safety concerns. Internal checks to be carried out include:
- Condition of the curtain and curtain straps
- Load straps
- Doors, hinges and locks
- Maximum load
- Slats and boards
Exterior checks include:
- Tyres and wheel nuts
- Licence plate
- Lights and reflectors
- Air leaks
A full list of checks should be provided for you before you carry out your daily checks to make sure the condition of the vehicle is of a legal standard. Any defects found that could render the vehicle unsafe to drive should be reported, and the HGV should not be driven until the defect is fixed. It is incredibly important that drivers check their vehicle for safety issues, no matter whether the vehicle has already been driven and checked that day. Carrying out daily walkaround checks can ensure that you are DVSA compliant, as well as keep the driver and other road users safe.
Daily checks carried out on HGVs and their attached trailers are a legal requirement and failure to comply can result in a fine or penalty points on the driver’s licence. Utilising the AssetGo app can help you create a more streamlined approach to daily checks, with all digital checklists securely saved so drivers can access them quickly should they be pulled over.
How often should I check my trailer’s tyres?
One of the most important checks HGV drivers need to make is their trailer tyres. Defective tyres on any road vehicle, whether this is private cars or commercial vehicles, are illegal and the police or the DVSA can fine you and issue penalty points for each defective tyre. For trailers weighing over 3,500kg, tyres must have a tread depth of 1mm, and there should be no flat spots, exposed cords, deep cuts or bulges.
HGV trailers carry heavier loads than most vehicles, so their tyres can suffer from increased wear and tear on the roads. This is why it is especially important for drivers to check their tyres daily to make sure they are in good condition, and have the appropriate amount of tread depth and air pressure.
How to check your trailer’s brakes
HGV drivers should check their brakes each day before setting off on their journey; failure to do so can leave a fault undetected, which becomes a hazard for the driver and other road users. Drivers should make sure that there is no air build-up or leaks, and the footwell of the cab should be clear. The service brake should also be checked to see if it operates the tractor and trailer brakes.
Although the brakes may seem to be faultless in the cab, issues can arise if the trailer is not coupled up to the cab correctly. The brake line that runs from the cab to the trailer should be plugged in correctly and have sustained no damage. Like all major defects, any faults with the brakes or wiring should be reported immediately. This can be done quickly using the AssetGo compliance management system, which you can discover more about here.
Trailer brakes can become defective easily due to damaged wiring, poor connection or debris, so it is important to check your brakes daily. To find about more about checking your trailer brakes during your daily walkaround checks, you can read our full guide here.
Checking your trailer lights for defects
As well as carrying our daily vehicle checks on your lights to see whether your trailer is DVSA compliant, HGVs, LGVs and their trailers must follow various regulations, much like cars and other commercial vehicles. HGVs must follow the same rules that other vehicles do in terms of headlights, rear licence plate lights and side marker lamps, but they also have their own regulations to follow too. For instance, they often require side-facing reflectors and rear reflective marker plates.
As well as checking the front headlights at the cab, drivers should also make sure that the rear lights located on the trailer are working optimally too. Turning on your lights and hazards can help you determine whether all lights are working, and you should also check that your brake lights are working by using a reflective surface, or you could get another person to help you check. If your trailer lights are not working, it could be an issue with the lights themselves, or your trailer may not be coupled correctly.
If you notice an issue with your lights or electrical wiring, you should not drive the HGV until the issue is resolved. You can find out more about checking your lights during daily trailer checks in our previous guide here.
How to report trailer defects
Whilst carrying out your daily walkaround checks, you should make a note of all components that are working, and any which are defective. All major defects should be reported to the responsible person within your company; if a defect seems minor, but you aren’t too sure, you should not drive your vehicle and have the defect inspected to be safe. Defects should be reported in order to keep you and other road users safe, as well as remaining DVSA compliant.
Failure to submit defect reports can lead to a fine or penalty points issues by the DVSA if you are pulled over for a roadside check. Depending on the severity of the defect, you will either have to stop driving the HGV immediately, or you will have time to get the defect sorted. If you carried out your checks thoroughly, but a defect was still found by a DVSA officer, you must be able to provide your checklist, which is where the digital daily walkaround checklists on the AssetGo app come in handy.
To discover more about how our digital HGV checklists and compliance management system can help you, get in touch with us today for a free demo.
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