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Tue, March 26, 2024

HGV Reversing Tips, Essential and Techniques

HGV Reversing Tips, Essential and Techniques


Welcome to our new blog! Today's topic revolves around the HGV manoeuvring exercise, also referred to as Module 3a. In this post, we'll delve into the techniques, tips, and tricks used to successfully reverse an HGV. Additionally, we'll explore why the setup for the reversing exercise varies for each vehicle and why reversing an HGV is considered one of the most hazardous procedures. Join us as we identify the challenges and risks associated with this necessary yet perilous manoeuvre.


Understanding HGV Reversing Techniques



Explaining the basics of HGV reversing maneuvers


The manoeuvring exercise, also known as Module 3a, is essentially about demonstrating your capability as a potential lorry driver to your assessor. To pass this exercise, you must meet the following three criteria:

1. Control: Demonstrating mastery over your vehicle is crucial. Your assessor will observe your ability to reverse smoothly and steadily, avoiding overrevving, clutch slipping, lurching, or stalling, especially with a manual gearbox.

2. Accuracy: Your assessor will instruct you to reverse to the left, then to the right, and maintain a straight line within a confined space. You must navigate around obstacles such as cones or poles and avoid crossing marked lines.

3. Observation: Effective use of mirrors is essential. Your assessor will expect you to utilize the mirrors equipped in the HGV to maintain awareness of your surroundings while maneuvering.

Reversing an HGV entails significant risks due to its size and numerous blind spots, particularly behind the vehicle. Therefore, it's imperative to prioritize safety and adopt a cautious approach. Remember the adage: "never take a chance, be safe, and take a shunt." Taking a shunt involves pulling forward to reposition the vehicle for better visibility. While you're permitted two shunts during the official test, safety always comes first, and you can take as many shunts as necessary in real-world scenarios. Your instructor will emphasize this during training, and your assessor will provide guidance and demonstrate the procedure at the beginning of your test, often using a diagram for clarity.




Best Tips for HGV Reversing


Your vehicle will initially be positioned in the bottom right-hand corner, specifically on the Z line. Your assessor will then provide a detailed explanation of the area, identifying various cones/poles and the bay area located in the bottom left-hand corner. It's crucial to adhere to certain rules: avoid crossing perimeter lines, refrain from advancing beyond cones 'A' & 'A1,' and ensure no contact is made with any cones/poles or dislodging the barrier at the back of the bay area during reversing.

Your assessor will confirm if the explanation was understood before proceeding to provide instructions. They will likely say: "I would like you to drive your vehicle forward, passing cone B to the right. Stop when the front of your vehicle is between cones A & A1." It's essential to position the vehicle slightly to the left of cones A & A1, rather than in the exact middle. Then, the assessor will instruct: "When I tell you to, I would like you to reverse to the left of cone B, so it's on your right-hand side, following the route indicated by the blue line into the bay area. Stop with the rear-most part of your vehicle over the black hatch markings. Is that clear?"

Your assessor will then instruct you to enter your vehicle and await further direction. Once the assessor has walked to the top of the area, watch for their signal indicating that you should drive up to cones A & A1 to commence the reversing part of the manoeuvre. Upon reaching the A cones, the assessor must have a clear view of cones A & A1 and cones A & B. If not, you may be asked to reposition your vehicle. If the assessor is satisfied with your positioning, you will proceed.

Reversing techniques differ significantly for rigid vehicles compared to vehicles towing trailers. When maneuvering with a trailer, there's more flexibility due to the bend, but the rules remain consistent. Recall the instruction about not crossing perimeter lines? While the front or rear of your vehicle may extend beyond these lines, it's crucial that your wheels do not fully cross them. They can touch the lines but mustn't cross to the other side.

As you reverse across the yard, remember that if your vehicle veers off course, you are permitted to shunt or pull forward to reposition it. Taking a shunt is safer than risking failure on the test, which would necessitate an expensive retest.





The area



During the reverse, there are two instances when you may exit the vehicle: first, between the A cones and cone B if cone B isn't visible; second, once you've reversed onto the bay area to check if the back of the vehicle aligns with the hatched markings (black lines). If adjustments are needed, you can reverse slightly, but refrain from exiting the vehicle again. When your assessor asks if you're satisfied, respond affirmatively. If they inquire again, it indicates you haven't stopped correctly, and you may need to adjust your position.

The manoeuvring area for the HGV/LGV Manoeuvring Exercise is carefully structured to accommodate different vehicle types and lengths. The overall dimensions are 11 meters wide by 66 meters long. Rigid vehicles are allocated 3.5 times their length from the Z line to cones A & A1, while trailer drawing vehicles receive 4 times their length for the same distance. The space between cones A & A1 is 1.5 times the vehicle width, with cone A1 typically positioned near the perimeter line. However, for trailer drawing vehicles, cone A1 may be placed up to 1 meter inside the line to facilitate maneuvering. The bay area measures 1.5 times the vehicle width and matches the vehicle's length, up to a maximum of 12 meters. It's essential for drivers to navigate the area carefully to avoid knocking over cones and to await the assessor's instruction before beginning the reversing maneuver.



Best Tips for HGV Reversing


Reversing a rigid vehicle may feel peculiar compared to reversing a car because the steering wheels trail behind rather than lead. When steering right to go right, the front of the vehicle moves left, which can initially seem counterintuitive. However, this steering movement is necessary to steer the back of the vehicle in the desired direction. If you're accustomed to reversing a car into a parking space, adapting to a rigid goods vehicle should be manageable with practice. Reversing a trailer drawing vehicle, such as an articulated lorry, involves steering in the opposite direction of the trailer's movement. For instance, if the trailer veers left, steer left to counter it. Anticipating and responding to the trailer's movements with practice will help improve your proficiency in reversing articulated lorries.

Mastering the art of keeping your trailer in a straight line takes practice, but it's entirely achievable. Imagine your vehicle and trailer are aligned in a straight line, and you intend to reverse to your left. As you start moving backward, gently steer to the right. This action prompts your trailer to swing to the left. Once it's positioned in the desired direction, swiftly steer left, towards the trailer, until both the vehicle and trailer begin to align. Once straightened, center the steering to maintain stability.

Remember, even a slight adjustment in steering can cause the trailer to jackknife. If unsure, pause and assess before making a steering decision. Similarly, if you aim to move the trailer to the right, initiate with a subtle left turn. Once the trailer aligns with your intended direction, swiftly steer right until it straightens, then center the steering for stability.


Hand Positioning for Reversing


During the reversing section of the 3a manoeuvring exercise, you'll employ various steering techniques to navigate effectively. Here's how they work:

1. Initiating the Reverse: After reaching cones A & A1 and receiving the go-ahead from your assessor, start by steering slightly to the right. The amount of steering depends on your instructor's guidance, often indicated by cues like a line on the headboard. Once prompted, swiftly steer left to align your vehicle and trailer, ensuring not to cross the line with your front wheel.

2. Navigating Towards the Bay Area: As your vehicle heads towards the bay area, ensure clearance of cone B and begin steering gradually to the left. This incremental left steering causes your vehicle and trailer to bend towards the right. Conversely, steering right will straighten them up. Remember the mantra "left to bend it – right to mend it" and adjust in small increments until lined up for entry into the bay area.

3. Maintaining Straightness: Once aligned for the bay area, keep your vehicle and trailer straight by steering towards the trailer. If the trailer's rear veers left, steer left to maintain alignment.

4. Approaching the Barrier: As you near the barrier, which you must avoid hitting, look for indicators like a hose pipe on the rear mudguard or tape on smaller trailers. These markers should align with the yellow box or black lines at the back of the bay area, ensuring you steer correctly under your instructor's guidance.

Once you've aligned your cheat marker, you're permitted to exit the vehicle and inspect your positioning. If adjustments are necessary, you can return to the vehicle to move it backward or forward accordingly. However, you're allowed only one instance of getting out of the vehicle; once you're in the bay, you cannot exit again.

After completing the reversing section, your assessor will instruct you to move the vehicle forward to a position where you will un-couple and re-couple your trailer.

Since November 15th, 2021, the DVSA has authorized HGV instructors nationwide to conduct the module 3a test, including off-road exercises. Most instructors at EP Training Services Ltd are authorized assessors. However, according to regulations, your instructor cannot simultaneously teach you the manoeuvring and un-coupling exercises while assessing you. Your assessor will be one of your instructor's colleagues.

Note: In the event of a failed 3a test, EP Training will promptly arrange a retest, usually scheduled for the following day.



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