What does a large goods vehicle driver do?
Large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers – also known as HGV or lorry drivers – transport and deliver goods between suppliers and customers. They work from depots, distribution centres and warehouses, and carry goods all over the UK and overseas.
This role would involve driving commercial vehicles over 7.5 tonnes, including rigid trucks, articulated lorries, tankers, transporters and trailer wagons.
Apart from driving, the main duties would include:
- planning delivery schedules and routes with transport managers
- supervising or helping to load and unload goods
- making sure loads are safely secured
- following traffic reports and changing route if necessary
- completing delivery paperwork and log books
Drivers may also deal with basic routine maintenance, such as oil, tyre and brake checks before and after journeys.
What do I need to do to become a large goods vehicle driver?
To become a LGV driver you must have a valid LGV licence. To get this, you need to:
- be competent in English and maths (to take the LGV theory test)
- be 18 or over
- hold a full car licence and have a good driving record
- have good eyesight
- pass a medical as part of the LGV test
There are several ways to get your LGV licence. If you are already working for a transport operator, for example as a clerk, your employer may be willing to train you. If you are not employed by an operator, you could fund yourself through driver training before looking for work.
The LGV licence test is divided into two categories:
- Category C1 allows you to drive rigid vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes
- Category C allows you to drive rigid vehicles over 7.5 tonnes
You would then take a further test to allow you to drive vehicles with trailers (category C+E).
Courses last from one to three weeks and cover driving skills, basic mechanics, and loading and securing loads. The test includes vehicle safety questions, manoeuvres such as reversing into a loading bay, 25 miles of road driving and a theory test based on the Highway Code and LGV regulations.
You can find training providers in your region through local telephone/business directories or by searching online. You could also check the providers on the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) website. This website lists providers of refresher training for qualified LGV drivers but many of these providers will also offer initial LGV training.
It is recommended that you compare several providers before signing up to see what they offer and to make sure it fits your needs.
For more details on LGV licence applications see the section on driving, transport and travel on the GOV.UK website.
Another way into this career could be through an apprenticeship in Driving Goods Vehicles. The range of apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. Visit the apprenticeships website to find out more.
As well as an LGV licence, you will also need a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This is known as the Driver CPC. See the GOV.UK website for details of the Driver CPC training and test.
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You could spend a lot of time away from home, including overnight stays where necessary.
Most of your time would be spent on the road, and you would drive day and night, in all weather conditions.