Top tips on how to become a truck driver
If you want to become a truck driver, some of the more obvious personal qualities may spring immediately to mind – qualities such as:
- a nature that is essentially calm and unflappable when under pressure;
- an ability to concentrate on the job in hand, even when that means mile after mile of driving the same stretch of featureless motorway;
- the confidence in spending most of your working hours alone in your cab;
- a positive yet courteous approach in your driving that recognises the needs of other road users; and
- the desire to travel not only to many different parts of the UK, but sometimes to continental destinations, too.
Some of these characteristics may be so ingrained in your nature that there is little you might consciously do to change them. But they are all likely to contribute to your being a safe driver, involved in few accidents, with only rare lorry insurance claims against you – a matter we clearly take pretty seriously here at Isis Insurance.
In addition to your natural aptitudes and abilities, of course, there are other formal aspects of more formal training for you to undertake:
- keep in mind that there are a number of basic qualifications you need before taking up the challenge of becoming a lorry driver;
- you need to be over 18 years of age and already hold a full car driving licence;
- basic skills in English and maths are also going to be necessary when it comes to aspects of the driving theory tests;
- you need good eyesight; and
- are required to take a medical examination as part of your HGV driving test;
- the driving standards set by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority DVLA), for example, are designed to test your driving ability and hazard perception, competent in taking on the serious responsibilities of a professional lorry driver;
- the licence holder qualifications which you obtain to drive specific types of large goods vehicles (LGVs) are legally prescribed;
- you might take comfort from the fact, moreover, that anyone teaching you to become a professional driver must also be properly recognised and accredited as an instructor by the DVLA;
- the driving qualifications themselves are divided into two main categories – C1 for driving single-unit vehicles of up to 7.5 tonnes and C2 to drive single units in excess of 7.5 tonnes;
- to drive a tractor trailer combination or articulated unit in either category you then need to pass a further test in the relevant category, C+E or C1+E;
- finally, you also need to undertake training for and gain your Certificate of Professional Competence (driver CPC) if you are going to drive for your living.
At first sight, it might seem that the training and testing required is going to cost a lot. It is possible to shoulder this burden yourself, of course, but as a non-driver you might also want to consider approaching any employer prepared to bear the cost of your training. Alternatively, there may be apprenticeship schemes for suitable candidates in your area.