Don’t Drive ‘Til You Drop: HGV Hours on the Road

Long days can turn into even longer nights for HGV drivers, and it can be tricky to keep track of the how much you’ve worked and the amount of rest you’ve taken between each shift while you’re out there doing delivery work.

Anyone who works in the industry should know how important it is to keep rested and refreshed while driving in order to stay alert and safe, so use this handy guide to inform you of your rights as a driver, and to remind you to take regular breaks.

Daily Limits:

If you drive for a company, ‘duty time’ is any time you are working, but if you are self-employed, it refers to only the time you spend driving or doing other work related to your vehicle or its load. Essentially, you should never be driving for more than 10 hours a day on public roads. This rule also applies if you are working off-road outside of duty time.

According to the daily duty limit you cannot be on duty for longer than 11 hours in a working day. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep a record of how much you’ve worked over the week should you need to refer back to it.

Taking a Break:

We’ve all been on a long motorway drive doing delivery work and found our minds wandering, which is why taking breaks during and between jobs is essential. You need a break of at least 30 minutes after 5.5 hours of driving, to grab a bite to eat.

To make it easier to keep track of how many breaks you should be having, remember that within an 8.5 hour period you need to have had at least 45 minutes where you’ve pulled over and had a rest. It is also essential that you take at least a 30-minute break at the end of this period.

Have a Rest:

As any driver doing delivery work well knows, you should not be working more than 10 hours per shift. This includes any time not spent driving. As well, all duties must start and finish within a 24-hour period.

You should also know that in a working week you need to rest for 10 hours before your first duty, and straight after the last. Equally, you should also take a rest this length between two spreadovers.

In addition, you must also be taking at least one whole day off every two weeks.

So, when you’re next on the road and feeling like you need a break, you probably do. Always take soft drinks and snacks on the road with you, so you can pull over when you find yourself getting tired or hungry and then get back on the road.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.


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