HGV/LGV Training – How it Works
In this post you will find out all the details about the qualifying process to become a lorry driver.
From the initial steps and checking you are eligible to train, through the entire process upto the HGV training itself, and beyond!
What is it?
Getting your category C licence (often called HGV class 2) will enable you to drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes either on their own or with a tiny trailer of 750kgs. – Realistically no one is going to tow a tiny 750kg trailer with a lorry!
To drive artics you will then need to do your C+E licence (often called class 1), this will enable you to drive a lorry with a trailer, whether it’s a traditional articulated lorry or a wagon and drag.
From November 2021 you will be able to do your category C+E without first doing the category C. You can still do the category C initially then upgrade to C+E later if you wish. You will need to do the same medical and theory test if you are doing C or going straight to C+E.
If you already have your full category C licence you will be able to upgrade to C+E by attending a driving course and test, there is no additional medical or theory test to pass.
Can you do it?
Almost anyone can become a lorry driver. To qualify you need to be over 18 years old and have a valid car driving licence (UK). If you have a foreign licence you will need to get it transferred to a UK one. There’s details of how to do that here.
The first step is to organise your medical examination. Because you will be driving a large, heavy vehicle capable of causing serious destruction if you are taken ill at the wheel, the DVLA conduct extra checks to ensure that you will be safe to drive it. This may sound daunting initially but it is in fact very straightforward. You simply make an appointment with a doctor and he/she will complete the DVLA D4 medical form with you. Most of this is done in an interview style as you are asked questions about your health.
The medical also includes an eyesight test, you will need to remove any glasses or contact lenses for this, so it’s a good idea not to wear contacts when you attend the examination. The doctor will take your blood pressure and will discuss any medication you are currently taking.
We are hearing of more and more doctors who are unwilling to complete the eyesight section of the test and are sending their customers to an opticians as well. We have access to a specialist team of doctors who are highly experienced at conducting drivers medicals and completing the D4 form. They will also complete the eyesight test, meaning there is no need for an additional opticians appointment.
Your drivers medical appointment normally takes about 15 minutes but can be longer if you have a complicated medical history. We can usually get an appointment locally to you within just a few days. And it’s all included in the course price.
DVLA D2/D4 forms
When you have had your medical the next step is to apply for the provisional Category C and/or C+E licence. There are two forms needed to apply for the provisional; the D4 form that the doctor completed on your medical (ensure you’ve completed your personal details on the front and signed it as appropriate) and the D2 licence application form. This form can be confusing so we’ll pre fill as much as we can for you and post it to you to check and sign. Then put the D2 and D4 form in an envelope with your licence (we suggest that you take copies of everything in case of problems with the post) add the correct postage and send to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BR.
It usually takes between 1 to 3 weeks for your licence to be returned. It can take longer if the DVLA has investigated your medical history. When it is returned it will look exactly the same as before, but your provisional licence will have been added. You can check what categories you have here.
You can then contact us to book your theory test.
There are 2 tests, a theory and hazard perception test that you will need to pass before you can take your practical HGV driving course. The theory tests are sometimes called the CPC part 1. If you want to drive professionally you will also need to pass the CPC case studies exam. Called CPC part 2. These are done at test centres in most major towns and cities.
We provide full and unlimited access to our online theory test revision partner, all included as part of the course. And we’ll take care of booking the tests for you, it’s all part of the service.
HGV Driver Training and Test
When you’ve passed your theory and hazard perception tests (CPC part 1) you can then take your driving course and test. This is where you should be careful who you decide to do your training with as choosing a lorry driver training school can be a minefield if you are not careful.
Read our post on the 7 things you need to know before choosing an HGV driving school.
If you choose us for your HGV training you will receive one to one tuition from friendly professional instructors in easy to drive automatic lorries. There is no time wasted driving to and from the training area, we do the course from the test centre. We won’t swap and change instructors on you (unless there’s an emergency!), your trainer will get to know you, understand the best way that you learn and be with you every step of the way to ensure your success.
CPC part 4 (practical demonstration)
To drive professionally as the main part of your job you will need to complete your CPC part 4. This is the practical demonstration which is done at our centre. Usually done with a mixture of home study and an afternoons training and test, this is the final step to completing your HGV training. You need to pass your CPC part 2 (case studies test) before you can take the CPC part 4. You have 2 years to complete the part 4.
On completing the CPC part 4 you will receive your drivers Drivers Qualification Card (DQC). You will then need to take additional training every 5 years to stay qualified.
Finally you will need to obtain your digital tachograph drivers card, as soon as you have that you are ready to start earning money as a fully qualified lorry driver!
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