Badly packed delivery van

How UK Delivery Drivers Can Protect the Goods They Carry

You are a delivery driver out on the road which means that you bear responsibility for making sure that the goods you transport not only reach their destination safely, but also on time. What you have to avoid is any part of your consignment being lost, damaged or even stolen. The result could be not only very expensive for your customer but for you yourself, if you were held to be responsible.

Fortunately there are a number of ways in which you can protect against this, to make certain that those goods arrive undamaged, on time, and are delivered to the correct person.

Predelivery checks

Before you deliver any goods at all you should be certain in your own mind that they are undamaged; after all you do not want to be blamed for any breakages that are discovered when they arrive at their ultimate destination. You should make full use of ropes and stowage hooks, and padding, as necessary and the vehicle should be loaded with the safety of the goods in mind, as well as the proper weight distribution for the vehicle you will be carrying them in.

Choosing your vehicle

The vehicle you carry the goods in is your most important tool so it has to be big enough and capable of carrying the maximum weight that you are likely to need it for without affecting the handling characteristics. This is particularly important if you are carrying goods which are particularly heavy or fragile. Having the wrong vehicle could result in you not only finishing up with damaged cargo, but also damage to the vehicle itself.

Speaking of your vehicle; you need to have insurance for it and you should make certain that the insurance covers the use of the vehicle to transport those particular goods. Just because you have what is known as 'hire and reward insurance' does not necessarily mean that you can carry any type of goods; it is usual for insurance companies to firmly stipulate the type of goods that you can carry. Transporting goods outside of those stipulated on your policy could leave you uninsured and facing possible financial, as well as legal, issues.

Protecting Fragile goods

The care of fragile goods begins right at the beginning when they are packed. Extra padding may well be necessary, and they should be clearly marked as fragile; and if it is necessary for them to be carried in a particular way, such as 'this side up', this should be clearly marked on the outside of the package.

Proper care should be taken in the stowing of fragile goods to avoid damage to them. It hardly needs saying that you should treat them gently with sufficient care when loading and unloading them.

Delivery man handling parcel correctly
Good packing and handling are essential

Spatial awareness

One of the qualities which are necessary for a delivery driver is to be aware of the surroundings, and observant enough to be able to spot potential hazards in good time. This is a particularly important characteristic if you are carrying goods which are particularly valuable; deliveries such as these can be the subject of professional theft, and you may wish to consider having extra security measures fitted to your vehicle, or even, if the value of the goods justify it, and a security guard in attendance.

There is however no substitute for being aware at all times of your surroundings so that you could have a better chance of avoiding a theft in the first place.

It is also important for you to be aware of potential traffic hazards on the road. For instance; if there are two parked cars close together ahead of you, and pedestrians on the pavement, will want try to cross between the cars? If dustbins have been left out for collection, are you likely to be faced by a stationary dustbin wagon round the bend? Is the car that is approaching a junction to the road that you are on likely to try to pull out in front of you? Spatial awareness is vital to protect both you, other road users, and not least of all the goods that you are carrying!

Avoiding distraction

Perhaps the main obstacle to spatial awareness is distraction, which can make you lose your concentration. For good reason it is illegal to use a mobile phone whilst you are driving, and it is unwise to adjust your satnav whilst you are moving as well. A little light music may well be relaxing; but very loud music can not only drown out audible warnings but take your mind away from your driving, too.

With proper planning of your route you can make sure that you know exactly where you should be at any given time, so that you will be able to concentrate on looking out for hazards such as potholes, parked cars and other motorists who do not do what they should do, instead of having to concentrate on your navigation system.

Getting the right insurance cover

No matter how good a driver you are and how conscientious you are about protecting the goods that you are carrying unexpected problems can crop up, so it is important that you arrange proper insurance for your cargo. This is called goods in transit insurance, and it is a policy which can pay out under certain insured circumstances, such as if the cargo is damaged during a road accident, during delivery, or as a consequence of theft.

Check the wording of your policy carefully; it is not really safe to assume that the cargo is covered under any circumstances at all, there are usually different categories of cover so you need to make sure that the risks that you are more likely to face are included on the policy.

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