What skills does an HGV driver need?

Posted on 22nd August 2022 By Geoff_Leapfrog

If a life on the open road and a great annual wage sounds like the perfect recipe for your dream job,
you may be well-suited to a life as a HGV driver. At present, the HGV driver shortage is still as
significant as ever, which mean companies in search of the right talent are willing to pay more to find
trained professionals capable of filling the gaps in their team.

If you’re willing to put the time and effort into developing your knowledge of the Heavy Goods
Vehicle (HGV) landscape, the reward can be a highly rewarding career.

The question is, which skills do you need to excel in your position as a HGV driver? What are the best
employers really looking for, and how can you make sure you stand out?

While the exact demands for any role will vary, here are some of the most common skills a HGV
driver will need.

1. HGV Driving Skills
Starting with the most obvious, to be a HGV driver, you’ll need to be qualified to manage and drive a
larger vehicle than most people accustomed to. You’ll need to be confident behind the wheel of a
vehicle which may be responsible for moving a range of different materials, and you should consider
yourself to be a relatively efficient, and extremely safe driver.

Aside from earning your HGV license, you’ll also need to have a standard driving license that’s free
from convictions. This will help you to appeal to the best-paying employers in the HGV environment.
You’ll also need to know how to handle a HGV in different environments and situations, like in
winter, when the roads can be icy.

2. Mechanical Knowledge
Though you don’t need to be a full mechanic to thrive in a HGV position, you will need some basic
mechanical knowledge. After all, you’ll be driving for extended periods of time in this vehicle, so you
should be able to determine what the issue is if something goes wrong mid-journey.

You’ll also be responsible for checking your vehicle before you take it out on the road, to ensure it’s
safe enough to travel. Although your employer will likely conduct specialist tests to ensure the HGV
you use is road-worthy, you’ll still need to be able to handle any minor mechanical issues which
might pop up when you’re driving.

3. Reliability and Honesty
Though technical skills like driving capabilities and mechanical knowledge are important to a life as a
successful HGV driver, you’ll also need to have the right soft skills to stand out when you go for your
job interview. In most cases, an employer won’t just be looking for a professional who’s comfortable
hauling all kinds of equipment in a larger vehicle. They’ll also want someone they can trust.

A great HGV driver is reliable, flexible, and honest. Remember, you’re going to be responsible for
transporting some very expensive and important goods for clients, so you need to be someone your
boss can rely on.

Showing your future boss you can be reliable, honest, and ready to pay attention to the rules of the
road at all times will help you to earn the best possible role.

4. Good Organisation and Decision Making
There’s a common belief in the HGV driving world that employees are simply left to go wherever
they’re told, and that’s all there is to it. However, the reality is there’s a lot more input required from
you than you might realise. You need to be able to examine two different routes in real-time and
decide which road is the best one for you in terms of safety and efficiency.

You’ll also be required to plan your day to ensure you’re reaching your destination on time, while still
giving yourself time for breaks and rest between sessions of driving. Knowing how to organise your
schedule and make effective decisions will be crucial in your role.

You may even find that you need to handle more paperwork than most people realise. Keeping track
of this documentation will help your boss to stay compliant with rules and regulations.

5. Good Communication Skills
Because a lot of the time you spend as a HGV driver will be alone in a cab, driving from one
destination to the next, you might not think communication skills are very important. However, that’s
often far from the case. First, you’ll need to communicate regularly with your boss to keep them
posted on your progress with various jobs and deadlines.

If you’re part of a team, you’ll need to communicate and collaborate with them to ensure you’re all
meeting your targets. Eventually, if you’re promoted in your HGV role, you may even need to guide
and direct your entire team too.

Additionally, you’ll need to be able to deal with customers and build trusted relationships with the
people you connect with over time. You’ll need to be able to answer questions clients might have
about the items you’re hauling, and communicate about how to best unload and store equipment.

6. Stress Management
While many of the careers you can develop with a career in HGV driving will deliver a lot of fun,
freedom, and opportunity, they can also be stressful from time to time. A job as a HGV driver is often
unpredictable. You might find yourself dealing with people on the road that don’t drive as well as you
do, or terrible traffic conditions.

Stress can also be brought on by being away from home for long periods of time as a long-haul driver.
Being able to manage your stress effectively and look after your mental health will be important if
you want to excel as a HGV driver.

Good stress management means you can take the challenges of the job head-on, without suffering
from reduced productivity or efficiency.

Do You Have the Skills?
If you think you have all the skills you need to excel as a HGV driver – but you still need to get that
HGV driving qualification, reach out to Surrey and Hampshire HGV training today to finish off your
CV, and start your new career.

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