Learning how to drive a truck, bus or coach (PCV) and obtaining the necessary license and qualifications is an expensive task. It’s therefore advisable to do a bit of research into the training you need before you start looking for a reputable driving school. This is a resource page that provides learners and job seekers with professional, quality and free advice on what to expect from a Heavy Goods Vehicle training course. It also aims to give students a practical insight into the job opportunities, responsibilities and work duties of a HGV driver.
Professional HGV drivers have a responsibility for the safe transportation of passengers and goods. Therefore they must have a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of all driving matters and be able to react quickly to unexpected hazards and situations.
Our mission statement is to put you in the best possible position to pass when test day comes along.
A complete HGV training package will teach you how to:
Start the vehicle in the correct manner.
Stop the vehicle in a controlled manner.
Perform safety checks.
Park a HGV.
Use signals correctly.
Brake a HGV.
Reverse a HGV.
Load and secure cargo.
Demonstrate awareness on the road.
Take into account the weight of your load.
Overtake in a safe manner.
Responsibly cope with any situations that arise whilst driving.
Uncouple and re-couple trailers.
Carry out basic mechanics.
Uphill and downhill starts.
Improve your general driving skills in relation to large vehicles.
Carry out specific manoeuvres.
The HGV theory test
This examination is based on the highway code, is made up of two parts and you must pass both of these before you can take your HGV practical test. Both tests can be taken at separate times, but they both must be passed within a 24 month period.
The first part is known as the theory test a and is a computer based multiple choice test. There are 100 questions that must be answered in 115 minutes (just under two hours). To pass you must achieve a pass mark of 85 correct answers out of the 100 listed.
The second part is called the ‘hazard perception’ test and is video based. You will be shown a series of 19 short video clips featuring various road and driving scenarios. Each video will contain a potential or developing hazard. To pass you will need to quickly react to and identify each hazard or mistake made during the journey. To pass hazard perception test you will need to achieve a score of 67 out of 100.
On passing both parts of the theory test you will be awarded a certificate, which you can use to apply for your practical HGV test.
The HGV practical test
HGV practical tests are performed under the controlled supervision of a DSA Examiner and take between 60 to 90 minutes. They are not only focused on actual driving but will also consist on questions based around vehicle safety.
During the manual and practical part of the HGV test you will be required to:
Display your knowledge of various speed limits.
Drive safely to a high standard under various traffic and road conditions.
Carry out gear changing exercises in a variety of settings.
Stop the vehicle in different locations and scenarios.
Illustrate your ability to deal with oncoming traffic.
Reversing a vehicle a restricted opening and within a marked area.
Understanding the meaning of various road signs.
Show your ability to safely keep up with other traffic.
Show you knowledge of the skills and regulations required to become a safe lorry driver.
Use your reversing marker to correctly park.
Demonstrate the correct use of you mirrors (checking blind spots) when moving of from a stationary position.
Tips on taking your practical driving test:
Dress code should be smart and casual, no need to be formal by wearing a suit.
If possible look around and become familiar with the testing area before you start.
Try to get a good nights sleep beforehand, you want to be physically and mentally alert.
If in the unfortunate event you make a mistake then dwell on it, instead move on and keep focusing on the rest of your test.
In any reversing manoeuvre you are allowed one occasion to get out of the truck.
Always face forward when mounting and dismounting the truck.
When executing a reversing exercise you are allowed to take your seat belt off. However do not forget to put it back on after.
How long does a HGV training course last
This depends on the type of courses the training centre runs and your ability to learn and progress through a course. A few very intense courses are as short as five days whereas others can last up to nine weeks. The shorter courses tend to be refresher ones for experienced drivers who want to brush up on their skills.
It is advisable for new entrants and complete novices to sign up for the longer courses that last between six to nine weeks. These courses tend to be more structured, organised, tailored towards a students needs and practise the best training methods.
What are the potential earnings for a HGV driver
Working for a distribution company you could potentially earn up to £30,000 per year.
Where does the HGV training take place
Initially the course and your training will be held at a private and secure specialist centre away from public roads. Only once the trainer feels you are competent enough will you be allowed on public roads.
Why are HGV drivers and training in such demand
Remember that virtually everything you buy or use has to be transported from one location to another. A great deal of this transportation takes place by road, and nearly all of that by lorries. In the UK there is a growing demand for young HGV drivers, so having the relevant license is an excellent way to improve your existing job prospects or go into a new career altogether.
Provisional HGV license
You must apply for and obtain this before you can commence any HGV training.
What are the hours of work for a HGV driver
On average you can expect to work anywhere between 39 – 44 hours per week. Legislation limits the number of hours you are allowed to drive without having a break.
The three main categories of HGV and LGV licenses are: Category C1, Category C and Category C + E. All of them have a minimum age requirement of 18 (it used to be 21).
These are vehicles which do not exceed 7.5 tonnes but weigh more than 3,500 Kgs.
Category C (also known as a class 2)
This is the most common sort of HGV license held and allows a license holder to drive trucks that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes but do not exceed 32 tonnes.
Category C+E (the ‘E’ stands for entitlement)
This license will allow you to drive articulated lorries, Large Good Vehicles (LGV) and also draw bar type vehicles.
CPC (Driver Certificate of Professional Competence)
All professional road haulage operators who want to drive category C1, C and C+E vehicles must possess a CPC. It’s underlying aim it to improve road safety for all users and increase a driver’s ability and skills.
There are two types of CPC qualification, a national one and international one.
Rigid vehicle – this means the cab and trailer are permanently fixed together.