Remember, your safety and security as a HGV driver is very important. Here are eleven ways to make sure you are always safe when on a job, be it on the road or near a ferry port.
Plan your route ahead of schedule. If possible, change your route as much as possible to avoid any recognisable patterns that can be picked by vigilant criminals.
Always remove your keys and lock the doors when leaving your vehicle unattended. Even if it's just to pay for fuel or make a quick delivery. It's really not worth the risk of having your load stolen for a quick turn of the key.
Ensure your cab doors are locked whilst driving. Opportunists may try to gain access to the cab when you stop at traffic lights or junctions. You should know how to use anti-theft systems and use them when they are available.
Overnight parking should be in approved locations where possible. Avoid dark, unlit, isolated spots. Look for the 'Park Mark' which denotes an area that has been checked and vetted by the police and has high security standards. Try to park in a way that prevents access to the rear doors of your trailer.
If you are asked by the customer to deliver to a different address, always check with your traffic office first to make sure the change is legitimate. Avoid the popular 'round the corner' scam. This is very important for your own safety and for the security of your load.
Try and make each leg of your journey last around 4 hours, or approximately 200 miles. Potential lorry thieves are less likely to follow you for these sort of times and distances.
Where possible, travel in convoy with other trusted drivers when delivering high value or vulnerable loads. It is easy for someone to get hold of a stolen uniform and pretend to be an official. They are more likely to be deterred if you are not on your own. Also, distractions such as supposed punctures or accidents, trailer door supposedly left open and someone pretending to ask for directions are less likely if there is someone else present to scruitinise what's going on.
Use a Vulnerable Load Card to discourage opportunist bogus thieves. It won't stop the professional gang but might deter the opportunist.
Keep all documentation about your load contents out of sight. Don't talk to anyone at service stations or truck stops about what you are delivering or where you are delivering it. Don't give the opportunists the opportunity to rob you.
If, unfortunately, you realise there is a theft from your HGV in progress, don't leave your cab. It's not worth it. Lock the doors, start your engine, switch on the lights and sound your horn to attract attention. No thieves want the attention of others and it might just deter them. And of course, call the police.
When returning to your vehicle after a break or drop, always check for any signs of tampering. Check your doors, seals, straps and curtains.
Overall, stay alert, use common sense and enjoy your journey.