Why Annual HGV Safety Inspections Are Essential

Row of lorries ready for inspectionAn HGV driver depends on his or her driving skills every time they take to the road. It is their job to keep themselves and other drivers safe. But, skills only add up to a portion of what is actually needed to make sure everyone is safe. These vehicles, just like regular ones, need to be in roadworthy condition all the time. To ensure that this is the case for your HGV always give it an annual safety inspection. And while we’re on the subject of safety, why not renew your HGV hazard perception test too?

Why Do You Need to Undergo Annual Safety Inspections?

HGVs are huge, complex machines. They contain numerous parts in each of their operational systems. Everything must work smoothly to keep the vehicle running properly. If anything breaks or something in the system falters, the entire vehicle could experience major problems.

The brakes could cut out and cause a serious accident. Or the fuel could run out unexpectedly creating even worse issues for you, if not other drivers on the road. Everything on the HGV must operate correctly at all times including the tachograph and the air brakes. Just as a car has to pass MOT inspections each year to stay road legal, HGVs must also pass inspections. These annual inspections ensure that the entire vehicle is safe to be driven on the road.

The annual inspection looks at several aspects of the HGV to ensure it is worthy of being on the road. It tests how safe the vehicle is overall. It ensures that the vehicle is road-worthy at least for the next full year. All HGV drivers who have taken their vehicle for annual inspections know how thorough and rigorous the testing process is.

What Gets Checked in the Inspection?

You are already used to doing your daily walk-around inspection. This is a standard, routine look at the vehicle. For the annual inspection, an inspector will examine the HGV inside and out. It goes through several minimum standard tests. These check for its overall condition and road worthiness. Some of the tests include the following:

Topside Inspection

This is the first part of the inspection. It examines the top of the vehicle using a hard surface. It looks at several factors such as:

• The vehicle’s actual identity versus its VTG6 plate.
• Checking the mirrors fairings are in good shape and fixed on securely.
• Checking that both driver and the passenger doors open and close properly.
• Checking tyres for proper rating, inflation and condition.
• Making sure that the spray suppressors are the correct size.
• Testing all lights, including turn indicators, repeaters, headlights and fog lights. All of them must be operating correctly and must be positioned properly for the driver and others on the road to see the vehicle.

You the driver will accompany the inspector during this stage of the inspection. You will check each aspect of the vehicle including the inside of the cab. Since you already perform daily inspections, you should be confident at this point. This is because any issues that you would have noticed would already have been corrected.

Underside Inspection

After the topside inspection is complete, you will go through the underside inspection. At this phase of the inspecting the inspector checks the:

• Axle alignment
• Steering system
Air brakes
• Shaker plates
• Foot brakes
• Oil and fuel lines for leaks
• Bearings

All inspectors are experts and know what to look out for. They will note any loose items and will look for any extreme signs of wear and tear. They will also take note of any potential hazards. This may seem extreme but when it comes to road safety there really is nothing that can be considered too small to correct.

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