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Safety first - don’t forget your walkaround checks!

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Maintenance workshop

Diagram of what to check on a lorry

With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, it’s particularly important that you do your daily walkaround checks this winter.

Most of the faults our staff find at the roadside could have been easily prevented if the driver had carried out their walkaround checks.

Not only could it mean avoiding prohibitions and fines, it’ll make your job and Britain’s roads safer.

Be safe this winter

Statistics show that last December, there was a dramatic spike in the numbers killed on Britain’s roads from 153 in November to 171 in December. There are any number of possible explanations for this. It could be poor weather conditions, shorter daylight hours, or an increase in road traffic.

What you need to take away from this, though is simple - be careful. This doesn’t just apply to how you drive, but to how you maintain your vehicle. Making sure it’s roadworthy is as important as getting enough rest and driving for your conditions.

Simple faults

Faults like defective tyres, loose wheel nuts, and blown light bulbs are easy to fix. But, they can land you a fixed penalty of up to £300 each and faults like a defective tyre could even cost you three penalty points.

And it isn’t just operator’s who are liable for penalties - drivers are responsible for their vehicle’s condition too.

All these faults can be easily spotted by carrying out a quick walkaround check. So, what can you do to avoid missing easy to spot faults like these? Here’s a few tips for making walkaround checks part of your daily routine.

Check it before you set off

You shouldn’t think of your walkaround checks as an inconvenience, but as something you must do before you set off.

Doing a quick check before you set off will help keep all road users safe. It's much better to discover an unsafe tyre before you set off rather than while driving at speed.

Take the time to do it properly

This might seem obvious, but you should always make sure that you have enough time to perform your checks before setting off.

You should also make sure you’ve got the correct equipment whatever the conditions, like a torch for performing walkaround checks in the dark.

It’s also a good idea to ask a colleague or a mate for help to check certain things. They can help you make sure your rear lights and indicators are working, for example.

Make sure your staff know what they’re doing

Operators, when hiring drivers you need to make sure that they know how to perform a walkaround check properly. If they don’t, it’s important that you provide training.

This training needs to be repeated regularly. This might seem like a hassle at first, but it will save you time and money in the long run.

Keep an eye on things during your journey too

Making sure your vehicle is safe to drive isn’t something that stops once you start driving. You need to make sure everything’s in working order during your journey too.

So if you discover a problem that makes your vehicle unsafe to drive, that means you can’t continue to drive it. You need to report the problem and get it fixed before you continue.

A good tip is if you effectively treat it like a breakdown. Just because the vehicle can still drive, that doesn’t mean you should carry on driving it.

Keep up to date

We organise and run regular new operator seminars. These aren’t compulsory, but we’d welcome as many operators as possible.

At these events we give out useful tips and guidance that your drivers can follow to avoid penalties and stay safe.

More information

It’s worth repeating - walkaround checks are important and that there’s a lot you can do to make sure they are performed.

DVSA’s priority is helping you keep your vehicle safe to drive and walkaround checks are an important and useful way of doing that.

Not only could they can save your business money, they could save your life this Christmas.

For more information you can read our guide to daily walkaround checks.

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  1. Comment by Trevor posted on

    Can you please explain which regulations apply to roadside examinations. There appear to be many differences compared to vehicle testing regs?
    Clarification on who should carry out a walk around check and how often would be helpful.
    Are UK regulations comparable with EU directives relating to roadside checks?
    These may be some difficult questions to answer in detail but given the importance and responsibility involved, clarity is essential.

  2. Comment by Trevor posted on

    Interesting post, especially the statistics on monthly variation.
    My question is whether enough detailed information is produced and whether it is accessible to drivers?
    This may sound strange, but there are now many drivers operating in the UK whose primary language is not English.
    They may be having difficulty understanding the guidance and regulations?
    Also, some items may be easy to check but the process is actually requires a significant level of competence and understanding. DVSA examiners are predominantly qualified engineers and specifically trained in vehicle inspection. Are sufficient resources being made available to bridge the gap?
    Statistics on the types and frequencies of faults found on roadside checks are also vital. Are they published in sufficient quantity and detail?
    Road safety is a big issue, great to see new input but it needs to reach the many, not just the few who are engaging with the problem.

  3. Comment by David Reed posted on

    Found this very helpful.
    How can I find out when your operating
    Seminars are on.

    • Replies to David Reed>

      Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

      Hi David,

      This is normally an automated process where new operators will get invited to a seminar. If a new operator has missed this invite then they can contact the remote enforcement office at, but the seminars are aimed at new operators not existing.



  4. Comment by C Riseborough posted on

    All good sound advice.

  5. Comment by DAVID GARDINER posted on

    This a good thing why not make one for private cars and light vans and get the DVLA to send them out with the tax reminder form.
    It may help to stop the one eyed monsters that are appearing now the dark nights and mornings are upon us
    While being on the M3 Thursday 16th a vehicle over took me with only one headlamp no other front lamps and when he passed not a single lamp working on the rear.
    An accident waiting to happen.

  6. Comment by Nick Simmonds posted on

    Thank you for the "walk around" blog.
    it cannot be stressed enough, most of the drivers from the company I used to work for did this and it saved a lot of heart-ache, down-time , and yes loss of revenue as I worked for a truck hire company as a fitter and I also took "ownership" of the mot lane we had installed.
    Customers would not take kindly to having a "defective" vehicle delivered, and would either have it returned or we would have to send a valuable mobile or workshop fitter to rectify the problem, yes, sometimes things like bulbs could blow at anytime which is un-avoidable, but topping-up screen-wash, engine oil, checking wheel-nuts, tyres lights, etc. were all part of the check-list before a vehicle was delivered to the customer.
    Even reminding the delivery driver to use his digital tacho card,in some cases, some thought they were exempt because they were "only delivering" a vehicle.
    I used to remind them that it was compulsory to use the card and it could even help in the event of an accident or as proof that they wern`t exceeding the speed-limit etc.
    I must admit that when these things were explained to them, they complied, which made for a happier customer, an increase in profit for the company, (keeps the share-holders and accountants happy), less stress for the transport manager, and a happier work-force.
    I have now taken early retirement, but I don`t think I will ever become complacent, as I always have a walk-around the cars at home before setting off.
    The number of vehicles on the road with faulty or in-operable lights and other defects, (people still drive with misted or frozen windows, allow yourself more time before setting off), is incredible, even LGV`s, PCV`s, let alone private cars.
    Let`s work together to do "our part" and keep "death off the roads".