How to carry out daily HGV walkaround safety checks

18th Jul 2022

HGV walkaround safety checks are crucial for any vehicle operation. HGV drivers, in particular, need to be extra vigilant when carrying out these safety checks as they will be able to stop potential problems before they develop into something more serious.

Understanding HGV walkaround safety checks

The daily vehicle walkaround safety check is an essential routine that should be carried out by drivers on all vehicles at the start of every working day. The purpose of this inspection is to check that everything is in working order and safe for use, before a driver gets behind the wheel. A driver’s first task when starting work should be to carry out this inspection and make any repairs or adjustments necessary to ensure the vehicle is road worthy.

The benefits of carrying out a daily walkaround vehicle safety check are clear: by ensuring your HGV is safe, you can prevent costly breakdowns, road accidents and lost time on site. It also means that you can focus on driving safely without having time-consuming repairs to worry about. By carrying out regular checks throughout each shift, you can identify potential problems before they become serious issues – helping keep both staff members and other road users safe..

Detailed HGV checklist:

  • Mirrors and glass
  • Windscreen and wipers/washer fluid
  • Front view (nothing obstructing your view)
  • Dashboard warning lights and gauges
  • Steering
  • Horn
  • Brakes and air build-up
  • Height marker
  • Seatbelts
  • Lights & indicators
  • Fuel and oil leaks
  • Battery security and conditions
  • Diesel exhaust fluid (AdBlue)
  • Excessive engine exhaust smoke
  • Security of body and wings
  • Spray suppression
  • Tyres and wheel fixing
  • Brake lines and trailer parking brake
  • Electrical connections
  • Coupling security
  • Security of load
  • Number plate
  • Reflectors
  • Markings and warning plates

The HGV daily walkaround checks should be carried out before you drive or if the vehicle has been stationary for any length of time. It is vital that you know how to carry out these checks, as not doing so could result in a serious accident, fine and/ or compliance investigation by the DVSA. Descartes SmartCheck is an effective tool to conduct your daily vehicle safety check, report and compile the data of your fleets defects.

What to do if you find a defect

If you find a defect, don't ignore it. Record and report all defects that you find during the daily walkaround check and any you become aware of during your journey. Take pictures as evidence of the defect. Don't drive the vehicle if it is unsafe to do so. Log and report the defect immediately to your supervisor and any other relevant parties, including:

  • Transport manager(s)
  • Fleet Maintenance
  • The driver's employer (if this is not yourself)

Daily HGV walkaround safety checks are simple and important, you should carry them out on every journey

A daily walkaround safety check is a simple and important task that you should carry out on every journey.These checks are essential because they can help prevent accidents and saves money in the long run in maintaining vehicles to a high standard and not reacting when something big goes wrong with the vehicle keeping it off the road and not making money!

Before each trip record:

  • Vehicle number plate/ ID mark
  • Date
  • Details of defects/ symptoms
  • Your assessment of the defects e.g. ‘dangerous’, ‘minor’
  • Name
  • Who is was reported to

The purpose of daily HGV walkaround safety checks is to help you become more familiar with your vehicle, and to keep it safe. They’re simple and straightforward, but they can be very important if something goes wrong. We hope that this guide has been helpful, and that you will carry out the checks on every journey using Descartes SmartCheck.

Based on UK Government guidance Sept 2019.