What Characteristics and Skills
Might You Need to Be an HGV Driver?
When it comes to being an HGV (heavy goods vehicle) driver, it helps if you enjoy being behind the wheel. However, there is far more to the job than this, and there are a range of skills and characteristics from other roles and walks of life that can make you an ideal fit for a lorry cab.
Here, we look at what you need to be a great HGV driver, and who is best suited to this fantastic career on the road.
It is understood that an HGV driver should enjoy the process of driving if they want to get the most out of their job. You should be a proficient driver and happy to spend your time travelling, but there are some official things that you will need too. Not only will you need a standard driving licence, but you will also need a clean driving licence that is free of convictions. This will enable you to go on and complete the specialist driver training that is required to be in charge of an HGV. This can take anything from a few days to a few weeks and will cover safety, theory and practical driving skills.
In terms of the type of driver you need to be, then a safe one is top of the list. Your HGV can have devastating consequences if it is involved in an accident, and so driving it within the law, according to the road and weather conditions and with other drivers in mind is essential. You should be a considerate driver and respectful of other road users – remember, it is not just your reputation on the line, but that of the company which is written on the side of your wagon.
As an HGV, you do not just drive, you are responsible for checking the safety of your vehicle and whether it is roadworthy, so having some level of mechanical skill and knowledge of HGV parts can be hugely beneficial. You will also need to be able to address any minor mechanical issues that might crop up whilst you are driving. These will include some basic maintenance to avoid breakdowns and keep the vehicle safe and punctual.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that truck driving is just for men, but, in reality, many women make excellent HGV drivers. More women are being encouraged into the industry and are enjoying the roles that they have, so do not think that your gender needs to be a factor.
There is a common misconception that as an HGV driver, you simply go where you are told, when you are told to. In truth, there is far more input required from you, which means that you will need to be well organised. Not only will you be required to be involved in the safe and successful loading and unloading of your cargo, but you will also need to do a lot of planning.
When you are given your schedule each day, you will need to work out the best route to get you to your destination on time. This not only requires you to assess the quickest direction, and factor in the required number of breaks in safe and suitable places, but also to think about any roadworks and traffic black spots to assess whether you need a change of course.
You will also handle more paperwork than you might expect. This will be required to be filled in when picking up goods and handing them over, and it is your responsibility to check that this is done correctly. Someone who can show that they are organised, good at planning and can demonstrate forward-thinking will be a great candidate for the job.
Whilst you might have a vision of spending many hours alone in a cab, there are also a lot of communication skills that are required to be an HGV driver. Not only will you need to collaborate with your team to ensure targets are met, but you will also be required to deal with customers and build up a trusted relationship. You will need to be able to discuss ideas, as well as keep people informed if there has been a problem of some sort.
There are a lot of people relying on your deliveries, and these are usually part of a wider chain, so it is important to show that you are dependable. Everyone involved needs to know that you can be trusted with your goods and can complete the tasks you are given in a timely manner. Being seen as honest and trustworthy is hugely important and can help to build important relationships with both your employers and your customers.
Being an HGV driver can be seen as a sedentary profession, but it is more physical than you might think, with safety checks, loading and unloading and safety checks to handle. Coupled with the stress you might endure; it is important that you ensure that you take good care of your health to make you a safe and effective driver.
We can all suffer from stress in any role, and HGV drivers are not immune from this. It can be created by difficult driving conditions, unexpected traffic, looming deadlines or dealing with different drivers. Stress can also be brought on from outside the cab, with family life creating its own pressures if you are away from home a lot. Being able to manage stress effectively is therefore important and can help to not only keep your mental health in good condition, but also leave you better placed to manage tricky situations when they arise.
Being an HGV driver can be an amazing career, with a lot of benefits. Like any job, it needs certain characteristics, but these are often more varied that you would imagine. If you think the above criteria sounds like you, then maybe now is the time to consider making a switch into the world of HGV driving.
About the Author
Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations of Walker Movements, specialists in quality second-hand, used trucks and trailers and are global leaders in the trucking industry. Walker Movements have a passion for the industry and make it their mission to answer any question customers can throw at them.