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Lorry Driving Advice and Guidance

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 22 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Driving Career Career Change Lorry

Lorry driving as a profession is declining, partly because of the less than glamorous image that is often associated with it. Much of this is misconception, as you don't have to be a strong, older male to become a lorry driver as modern technology makes it easier to drive a lorry than used. In fact, many lorry drivers are actually female. If a career change to lorry driving appeals to you, this article offers some driving advice.

What Kind of Lorry Can You Drive?

If you passed your driving test and got your licence before 1997, you can drive a lorry of up to 7.5 tonnes without the need for a specific licence. If you want to drive anything above that, you will need to take lessons, and pass theory and practical tests to get a C+E driving licence that allows you to drive heavier goods vehicles of up to 44 tonnes. These tests will assess your understanding of vehicle safety, as well as your ability to drive a lorry.

Lorry Driving Advice

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a small lorry in the UK, and 21 years old to drive a large lorry.

There are no rear windows in a lorry, which means that you have to rely on your mirrors to gauge the situation. This can be a big adjustment for drivers who are used to being able to glance out of the rear window to check their blind spot. Thankfully, there are many more mirrors than you'll find on the average car. Even so, reversing a lorry and taking corners can be challenging, particularly if you are not used to driving long vehicles. The DSA advise using your indicators far more than you would in a car, as the restricted visibility makes it more difficult to definitely know if another road user would benefit from knowing your intentions.

The Theory and Practical Tests

Theory tests for lorry drivers are not dissimilar to car theory tests. They involve multiple choice questions, followed by a hazard perception test. You can book your theory test online on the DSA online booking website.

If you are considering a career change to lorry driving, you should be aware that it requires different skills to driving a car. Because of this, you need to go through a training programme to ensure that you have the necessary skills. The practical test will assess different driving skills to those that are assessed in a car practical test. Among the driving manoeuvres that you will need to successfully display are 'S' reversing manoeuvres into a parking bay and braking manoeuvres. If you are taking a practical test with a trailer, you will also need to demonstrate uncoupling and recoupling.

As well as displaying your driving skills, you will also need to demonstrate knowledge of vehicle safety. Show me/tell me questions are often asked at the start of a practical test.

Common topics for questions include demonstrating secured cargo doors, checking for air leaks, loading safety and checking the condition of windscreen wipers, mudguards and windscreens. For any incorrect answers, you will receive a driving fault, up to a maximum of four. The DSA website has a PDF of samples questions that you can download as practice.

From September 2009, you will need to have a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). This will require some extra training. If you drive a large lorry and therefore hold a C or D category living licence, you need to take 35 hours of Periodic Training every five years to retain your Driver CPC well as the appropriate driving licence.

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I drove lorries at the US from 1999.Whatis a procedure to become a lorry driver there.You come to some local DMV (American DSA) ,show your regular driver license and Social Security card(American NI card) ,they check it out and you may go to pass a test RIGHT NOW.100 question - 80 correct answers,non limited time(untill an office is open) and you pass your theory test. I had spent already for this 6 weeks at the UK ,the DVLA is still thinking to give me a provisional license or not. A driving test at the States takes kinda 10-15 minutes.They dont care about your minor mistakes as this is unavoidable for new drivers.They care about your menthal and will abilities,decisiveness ,ability to control a situation and readiness to take responsibility. CPC? It's just a simple cash rip off to keep up easy bread for bureaucrats from DSA and DVLA. And you ask why UK loosing a leadership?
Jake - 18-Jan-12 @ 2:18 PM
Having been driving trucks for over 30 years the job now istreated terriblyas the lowest of the lowest. I was earning more money 20 years ago than now and with this drivers cpc which I think is a total waste of time and money. My licence is up for renewal in december and I won,t be renewing it.
parky - 24-Apr-11 @ 10:43 AM
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