Becoming an HGV driver can be an incredibly rewarding career option for anyone who enjoys driving, but getting there isn’t as simple as waltzing up to a centre and taking your test. As a professional driver you will be held to a much higher standard of safety and performance, so unsurprisingly there is a lot of training involved. The Driver CPC is the most basic form of HGV license you can hold and must hold if they wish to drive professionally, and obtaining one is a 3 step process.
Get Some Experience Behind The Wheel
Before you can go down the route of being ‘officially qualified’ to drive an HGV, you need to log some serious time behind the wheel. Driving an HGV might seem like driving a very big car, but in reality, it is much more complicated, and only by getting in and practising will you learn how to handle one. So book yourself in with an instructor and spend some time getting to know the vehicle. Not just the mechanics of how to make it stop and go, but how to operate the loading doors, connect and disconnect cab from the body, what vehicle checks you should be making before every journey and how to work the tachograph. You should also book onto a training course to practice your driving and learn the theory.
Take Your Theory Test
Unlike the theory test for your car license, the theory test for your Driver CPC license (the most basic of all HGV licenses and an absolute essential for anyone looking to drive one) comes in 2 parts. The first part is a multiple-choice quiz and a basic hazard perception test, similar to those you would have taken for your basic drivers’ license, but with the footage and questions made applicable to larger vehicles, manoeuvrability and safety. This section costs a total of £37 to take, and each section can be done at a separate time if you wish. Once that has been passed, you can then take the case study test. This is an interactive test on a digital screen, lasts 75 minutes and covers 7 random case studies. You will need to answer a total of 50 questions across the 7 case studies and to get a passing mark you will need to get at least 40 right to pass. You can do 15 minutes’ worth of practice questions beforehand to get yourself ready. This part of the theory costs £23 to take.
Take Your Practical
Your practical test is also split into 2 different parts – the driving ability and practical demonstration tests. The practical ability test can only be taken once you have logged a lot of hours with an instructor and will feel a lot like the traditional driving test. You will be asked to drive a route and take directions from the instructor, who will also ask you to perform basic manoeuvres that you will need to do every day as a professional HGV driver. This part of the test assesses your practical driving ability and safety behind the wheel and costs £115 to take (or £141 on evenings, weekends or bank holidays). The final part of your Driver CPC test is a practical demonstration, which doesn’t actually require any driving, Instead, you will be asked questions about the safety and maintenance of your vehicle and asked to demonstrate appropriate checks and processes. This includes knowing how to load and unload safely, emergency procedures, checking for criminal activity and trafficking in your vehicle. This section lasts for 30 minutes, and you need a minimum of 80 points (out of 100) to earn a pass. The practical demonstration section costs £55 to take or £63 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.