If you want to drive an HGV (heavy goods vehicle), also known as a lorry, you must complete an approved training course. The training will ensure that you are safe and capable of driving an HGV on UK roads. But how long does the training take?
There are a few things to consider when training to become an HGV driver. In this article, we will go over the average training time, what is included in the training, and how you can make the most of your training.
The Different Types of HGV Licences
If you’re looking to get your HGV licence, you may be wondering what type of licence you need. The answer depends on the weight and size of the vehicle you’ll be driving, as well as what you’ll be using it for.
The Cat C1 licence allows you to drive a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of up to 7,500 kg. This includes vehicles such as minibuses and small fire trucks. If you want to tow a trailer behind your vehicle, the maximum permissible weight of the trailer cannot exceed 750 kg.
C1+E licenses are for driving up to 7500kg with trailers of over 750kg. It is very similar to the Cat C1 licence, with one key difference: it allows you to tow a trailer weighing up to 4,250 kg behind your vehicle. With this licence, you can drive a minibus or small fire truck and tow a large trailer such as a caravan or horsebox. For vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg with trailers over 750kg.
The Cat C licence allows lorry drivers to drive a rigid heavy goods vehicle (HGV). This includes vehicles such as 18-wheeler trucks and concrete mixers.
This type of licence lets you drive HGVs that have a Gross Vehicle For vehicles over 7500kg with trailers up to 750kg. To qualify for a Cat C licence, you must first complete a medical examination and hold a current full driving licence. You’ll also need to pass the Cat C theory test, which covers topics such as vehicle safety, loading, and unloading, and driving in adverse weather conditions.
The Cat C+E licence allows you to drive an articulated heavy goods vehicle (HGV). Articulated HGVs are those that have a detachable trailer—think of them as giant 18-wheeler trucks with an extra section in the middle that can be detached from the main cab. With this licence, you can also tow a trailer weighing up to 20 tonnes behind your articulated HGV.
Learn More: Lorry driving laws that you need to adhere to
How Long Does HGV Training Take On Average?
If you have your Category B car licence, are over 18 years old, and are medically fit then you will apply for a provisional HGV licence. The application process involves passing a theory test and a practical driving test. Once you have obtained your licence, you are eligible to start your HGV training.
The next step is to complete your Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) training. To become a lorry driver in the UK CPC test is required. To obtain your Driver CPC tests, you must pass four separate tests: two Theory tests and two Practical tests. The Theory tests cover topics such as traffic laws, vehicle safety, and emergency procedures.
The Practical training tests encompass both on-road and off-road driving scenarios. The entire Driver CPC process can take anywhere from one week to several months to complete, depending on your availability and how quickly you can pass the tests.
After you have completed your Driver CPC training, you will need to obtain an HGV license by passing a series of driving tests. The first is the Category C License test, which allows you to drive vehicles that weigh over 3,500kg with trailers that weigh up to 750kg.
The second is the Category CE License test, which entitles you to drive vehicles that weigh over 12,000kg with trailers weighing more than 750kg. Both of these tests involve a written exam as well as a practical driving test.
Depending on which types of HGVs you intend to drive, you may also need to obtain additional licenses such as the Category C+E License (which allows you to drive vehicles weighing over 3,500kg with trailers weighing over 750kg) or the Category D License (which allows you operate buses with up to 16 passenger seats). These additional tests follow the same format as the Category C and CE License tests respectively.
In the UK, someone with no previous driving experience can expect to spend around 4 weeks completing their training. This will include both theory and practical elements. Someone with previous driving experience may be able to complete their training in as little as 2 weeks.
Every year, HGV drivers over 65 must renew their licenses. The Driver CPC must also be renewed every five years by completing 35 hours of training.
Learn More: What are the different types of lorries?
How Can I Make The Most Of My Training?
There are a few things you can do to make the most of your HGV training:
revision is key! Use resources such as books, YouTube videos, and online quizzes to revise for your test. The more revision you do, the more likely you are to pass the first time.
take your time and don’t rush yourself. If you make a mistake, don’t worry – everyone makes mistakes when they’re learning something new! Just take a deep breath, relax, and try again.
If you’re ever unsure about something, make sure to ask your instructor for clarification. It’s better to ask a question and get it right than not to ask a question and get it wrong!
Learn More: How you can become a Class 2 HGV driver
All in all, it should take you 3-4 weeks to complete your training to get an HGV licence. This includes both practical and theoretical elements. Revision is key for the theory test – make use of resources such as books, YouTube videos, and online quizzes to help you out! And finally, don’t forget to ask questions if you’re ever unsure about something – that’s what your instructors are there for!