You have probably heard a lot about HGV driving – both good and bad. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the career choice. However, it’s a far cry from the standard 9 to 5 routine, plus it gives you a degree of control that many other jobs cannot offer you. Acquiring your HGV licence opens an exciting and flexible career path to travel home and abroad, as well as long and short distances. In this article – we will put to rest some common myths about HGV driving as well as offer perspective from real-life professional drivers.
HGV driving can be perceived to be a mostly male-dominated field. However, female truck drivers are on the rise in the UK and the role of women in the industry is increasingly high-profile. There is an increasing demand for competent drivers – with improved working conditions and good pay (depending on your employer). Therefore, this makes HGV driving an attractive profession for men and women alike.
You don’t need to meet any specific conditions to train to be a HGV driver, other than to be over 18 years old, hold a UK driving licence and willing to learn from the appropriate trainers. There are several different training suppliers who can assist you; you just need to find the right one for you and your needs. At Driver Hire, we can provide all the training and support needed to acquire your HGV licence, from the theory and practical tests to your Driver CPC.
The tests and training have not been set to catch you out or make it difficult for you to gain the qualification, but rather they aim to improve working conditions and safety for you as the worker.
The UK logistics industry is a pillar of our economy and in recent times, we have witnessed just how essential professional drivers are. Without HGV drivers, companies would essentially fall apart and suffer heavily. Goods, for example food products, are transported by HGV drivers and without them – there would be nothing to purchase. Therefore, it’s increasingly recognised that professional drivers perform a vital role in our society.
44-year-old Spencer Taylor at Driver Hire Cambridge believes HGV driving as a profession plays an important role:
“It’s a different job to anything else – and it’s essential. Being in the cab gives me time to think about life. And, because you’re delivering things, people are genuinely pleased to see me.”
HGV driving requires continual training which makes the individuals in the profession some of the most safety aware and competent drivers on the road.
Professional drivers must undergo routine drug tests and drinking whilst trucking is simply unacceptable. As with all industries, the commercial driving industry is a zero-tolerance zone.
Furthermore, it would be difficult for HGV drivers to stray from safety rules as they are frequently monitored by telematics and for large goods vehicles, by a tachograph. The range of electronic monitoring devices enables the recording of data such as:
All in all, professional drivers are one of the safest, most competent and closely monitored drivers in the UK, aside from the emergency services.
In short – the answer is no. It will be accepted into legislation despite the UK leaving the EU. This will prevent friction between the countries and so enhance efficiency when it comes to international shipping and trade. No government would want to be associated with removing a programme where stated aims are to improve road safety, as well as reduce death and injuries for drivers and the wider public.
HGV drivers do get time in their own company, which you may welcome, but it can also be a very sociable career. Drivers are frequently meeting new people whilst on the job, working with others and sharing stories. You will get to know people all over the country, and even abroad, and as time goes on you will become more acquainted with them as you travel to and from regularly. With all this in mind – HGV drivers become respected and welcomed members of a supportive and sociable community.
At Driver Hire Oxford, 54-year-old Richard Wastie believes driving has facilitated him socialising with others:
“Spending the night in a cab will be like a holiday for me. I’ve met so many fantastic people since I started driving – I can’t wait to take the next step.”
Driving professionally isn’t just about sitting behind the wheel – a lot more goes into it. HGV drivers have a variety of responsibilities which include:
Mr Wastie’s career is far from just sitting behind the wheel:
“I like variety and I don’t like sitting around. So, once I’d driven the team to wherever they were based for the day, I’d help with the set-up, wipe down afterwards and then take round tea and biscuits for the donors. I was asked to help triage people and trained on what to do if someone fainted.”
There has been much speculation as to how automation has already altered many other industries. However, automation is there to help and support with repetitive, time-consuming tasks – not replace workers. It allows HGV drivers to distribute more of their attention on challenging and higher-value duties. Instead of being a threat to drivers, automation aids in streamlining several aspects of their role e.g. route planning.
Autonomous vehicle technology already plays a valuable role in certain situations e.g. when covering longer distances on the motorway. However, dealing with the complexities of urban driving, loading bays and customer interactions can be much more challenging. From a legal and technological perspective, it’s clear we’re far from being in a position where the driver would have no role, from a vehicle’s starting point and until it reaches its destination.
With all this in mind – automation can improve a driver’s working experience, making their day-to-day life more efficient and less stressful.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help kickstart your HGV career, call us on 0808 178 9977 or chat to one of our agents right now.