Below, as part of our series of topics that you should consider refreshing in your DCPC training, Truckstop News looks at the mandatory daily walk round checks.

These need not be overly complicated and most rely on common sense, but still so many drivers do not undertake a full, thorough and sensible daily walk round check, especially if they are taking over a truck that has already got its trailer coupled or has just arrived in the hands of another driver.

Knowing what to do and what to look for – and how to look for it – on a walk round check is vital.

Likewise checking the security of your load is vital. Remember YOU are responsible for your load and ensuring it will not fall off regardless of whether or not you supervised the loading and strapping down.

A daily walk round check is expected to take about 15 minutes. You should put your tacho card in, set it to other work, and then inspect your vehicle to check it is safe, legal and roadworthy.

Before they go out on the road drivers need to check a number of items and features on the truck. The VOSA guidelines suggest the following walk round checks.

From the driver’s seat

Mirrors and glass: check that all mirrors that should be there are aligned properly and are secure. Check that your view of the road (especially in the driver’s side swept area) isn’t obscured by damaged/ discoloured glass; or obstructions (stickers, etc). Check that the side windows are not damaged or discoloured in a way that obscures the view to a mirror.

Horn: check that the horn control is easily accessible from driver’s seat; and that the horn unit works when control is operated.

Steering: Check the steering for excessive play. When checking for leaks underneath vehicle, check the major steering components to ensure that they are present and undamaged.

Brakes: Check that the service brake operates both the tractor and trailer (where applicable) brakes; and the parking brake for the tractor is operational.

These checks can be done by listening for the air releasing from the tractor and the trailer or by asking a colleague to watch the trailer brakes operating as you press the pedal.

Also check that the service brake pedal doesn’t have excessive side play or missing, loose or incomplete anti-slip provision; and that the trailer parking brake works by operating it as you do the walkaround check.

Excessive engine exhaust smoke: Check that the exhaust doesn’t emit excessive amounts of smoke.

Windscreen wipers and washers: Check that the wipers move continually when switched on; that wiper blades are not so deteriorated that they don’t clear the screen effectively when used with washers; and that the washers point at screen and are operational.

Check to undertake when walking around the vehicle

Lights and indicators: check that all lights and indicators work correctly:
*all lenses are present, clean and are of the correct colour
*stop lamps come on when the service brake is applied and go out when released
*marker lights are present and work (where applicable)
*all dashboard warning lamps work correctly (such as the ABS warning lamp, full headlamp warning lamp, parking brake warning lamp).

Battery security/condition: check that battery is held securely in place by the correct means, not by its cables and that the battery is not leaking. If it is, then it must be replaced.

Security of load: Check that any load is secured adequately; and that any container has an effective secondary locking device fitted.

Check your straps, rachets and curtain straps are al secure, not damaged and fit for purpose. Ensure any chocked load is not going to shift.

Ensure no long loads like pipes or timber is likely to move in the event of harsh emergency, or even routine, braking.

Markers: Check that marker boards are present if the type of vehicle requires them; not obscured by dirt or other objects; securely fastened; of the correct type; and clearly visible.

Tyres and wheel fixing: Check as much of each tyre/wheel as you can see. There must be a minimum tread depth of 1mm; sufficient inflation of each tyre; no deep cuts in the sidewall; no cord visible anywhere on tyre and no missing or insecure wheel-nuts.

Electrical connections: Check that all visible wiring is insulated and is not in a position where it’s likely to get chafed and all electrical switches operate their components.

Brake lines: Check that couplings are free from debris and located properly; there are no leaks from the lines themselves; and there is no bulging, kinking, corrosion, stretching, chafing or general damage/wear to any brake lines.

If the engine is left running until pressure has built up after the initial brake test, it will be easier to hear leaks as the rest of the walkaround test is carried out.

Reflectors: Check that the reflectors are not obscured; missing; broken; or of the wrong colour.

Security of body/wings: Check that all fastening devices are present, complete, secure and in working order; cab doors and trailer doors are secure when closed; no body panels on tractor unit or trailer are loose and in danger of falling off; and no landing legs, where fitted, are likely to fall from the vehicle.

Fuel/oil leaks: With engine on, check underneath vehicle for any leaks of fuel/ oil and that the fuel filler cap is properly located. If leaks are detected that aren’t fuel or oil, trace the cause (such as power steering fluid, water, etc).

Coupling security: Check that the trailer, if applicable, is located correctly in the fifth wheel and the security bar is in the correct position for its use.

Spray suppression: Check that the spray suppression flaps are fitted (where required), stiff and secure, undamaged and not clogged with mud or debris.

Consumables: Ensure the truck has enough water, coolant, fuel and oil for the day’s work.