Driving tests

What cab checks should you do in your truck?

The cab is your work area, so it needs to be safe and comfortable. A comfortable cab helps the driver avoid fatigue.

Getting in the truck

To assist the driver getting in safely, especially where the floor level of the cab is a metre or more off the ground, handles are fixed on either side. This is so that you can maintain three points of contact as you get in and out.

Check the handles are secure. If a handle is missing, get it replaced.

Steering wheel

Is there too much free play in the steering wheel and does the steering wheel feel loose? If so, have it fixed. Adjust it so that you have good control.

Cab of a truck showing handles on the left and right, the seat and the steering wheel. The seat is in good condition

Seat

Seat condition and seat position affect driver fatigue. The cushioning material shouldn’t be worn away (minor splits on the side of the seat won’t make much difference, but should be repaired before they get too bad).

The leather on this seat has split and should ideally be replaced before the cushioning materials begins to be lost. The controls for the air suspension seat are also shown

Air suspension seats should be in good condition as they are the main way of reducing vibration transmitted through the truck.

Check the controls for adjusting your seat.

Seat belt

The belt’s webbing material should not be frayed or cut, the latch plate should clip securely into the buckle and the retractor should pull the seat belt back smoothly. Check the seat belt locks.

This seat belt has some damage

Ancillary items

If you drive a truck loader crane, the remote control may be in your cab. Check it’s secured to the charging cradle. Any spare batteries should be in a place where they won’t be damaged.

Fire extinguisher

If you carry one, check the expiry date and the pressure gauge to check it’s still OK. Ensure it’s either strapped down or it’s securely in a frame that is attached to part of your vehicle and it can’t fall out and roll around the floor.

Fire extinguishers should be fastened so that can’t roll around in the cab

PPE

If you are required to carry PPE, check it’s there along with any other safety equipment.

Logbook

You’ll need your logbook in your truck while you are driving in case you are pulled over by CVST or police. Make sure it’s up-to-date before you start driving.

Dangerous goods documentation

The documentation should be in the dangerous goods wallet attached to the door.

Dashboard and lights

Air pressure has not yet built up in the brakes

When you turn on the ignition the warning lights illuminate and as the truck’s computer checks them, they’ll go out. The only one remaining will be your park brake before you move off. Check all the gauge are functioning when you turn the engine on.

Set up your air conditioning, radio and RT, pair your phone to Bluetooth and set your map destination if you need to. The fewer things you have to do while moving, the better.

Loose items

Secure all loose items so that they can’t move around under braking, accelerating and cornering. This includes things you might want to leave on the bed of a sleeper cab or in racks.

This bed area (minus mattress) doesn’t have much to stop things flying off forwards unless you pull up the mesh

Rattles and squeaks

A can of WD40 in your toolkit is useful for all kinds of things, including getting rid of squeaks where they commonly occur (clutch pedal and seat). Some screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench can be used to tighten up loose panels that are rattling.

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Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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