John's truck page
LGV stands for Large Goods Vehicle (formerly
called HGV, Heavy Goods Vehicle), i.e. truck.
For a long time, I wanted to learn to drive trucks, initially
because of my fascination with large complex mechanical things, and
also to improve my driving; then a friend, when she heard that I was
interested in doing this, pointed out that it would then be possible
to take part in relief convoys, and that added enough impetus for me
to apply for the provisional licence etc...
Well, I failed my first test on an artic, mostly for not slowing
down enough in anticipation at junctions. Then, a few years later, I
took the rigid truck test, and after several attempts, passed it, and
did some temporary work as an agency trucker while on a career break
How it improved my driving in general
- Use of mirrors
- There are two situations in which you should always use your
- When about to change speed or direction
- When not about to change speed or direction
- Pull out early
- when passing a kerbside obstacle such as a
parked car; if you have to stop to let oncoming traffic pass,
stop well back from the obstacle
- Slow down early
- Don't leave it to the last moment and slam the brakes on! Apart
from urban driving, you should be able to control your speed
almost entirely with the engine (but remember that your brake
lights may be important to the driver behind).
- Keep a steady speed
- unless there is specific reason not to
- Check the vehicle
- Before driving a vehicle (unless you have just driven it) walk
round it and check that all the tyres appear to be intact, wheel
nuts are all present, lights and number plates all intact.
Reversing with a trailer
The general idea is that steering a two-part vehicle in reverse is
a "second-order effect", or as one of my instructors put it:
what you hold in your hands is not the steering wheel of
the vehicle; it is the steering wheel of the steering wheel of the
Artic uncoupling procedure
- Select firm level legal ground.
- Stop as usual, with
and trailer in straight line with each other, use parking brake, stop
- Get out of cab.
- Apply trailer parking brake.
- Wind legs down to about 1.5" above ground, using support such as railway
sleeper if ground is not very firm.
- Stow trailer brake winding handle.
- Turn off air taps if fitted.
- Disconnect trailer electrics and
stowing in stowing positions on unit.
if fitted; pull
handle forward then out to side.
- Remove trailer number plate and put in cab.
- Start engine and drive unit slowly straight forward, watching trailer lower
Artic coupling procedure
to just in front of trailer, in straight line with it, stop and
apply parking brake, [stop engine?]
- Get out of cab.
- Check trailer parking brake is fully applied.
- Check trailer height relative to
adjust using handle and stowing after use if necessary.
- Check fifth wheel handle is out and forward.
- Drive unit slowly and firmly under trailer, observing trailer rise; continue
until click is heard from fifth wheel or you can not push back further.
Attempt to draw forward in a low gear against the trailer parking brake to
check that coupling is firm. Stop and apply parking brake, stop engine.
- Check fifth wheel handle is secure, apply
- Connect trailer electrics and
check that connection is firm, turn on
air taps if fitted.
- Wind trailer legs up, stowing handle.
- Check roadworthiness of trailer.
- Fit number plate.
- Check trailer lights.
- check load, check mirrors.
- Release trailer parking brake.
- Start engine, check air pressure, check ABS indicators if fitted.
- Drive off, checking brakes immediately after starting.