HGV driving is often misunderstood among those who possess knowledge in the field. It can be a profession that is both praised and criticised. However, one undeniable truth is that HGV drivers play a crucial role in the UK economy and Without them, society would face significant disruptions. Unfortunately, misconceptions surrounding HGV driving contribute to the current shortage of 100,000 drivers in the country. False information about working conditions, salaries, and the perception that the job requires little skill dissuades many individuals from considering this highly satisfying and rewarding career path.
As HGV drivers play a crucial role, we aim to dispel certain myths and misconceptions surrounding HGV driving. This is to show support and appreciation for these often-overlooked road heroes. If you’re interested to be an HGV driver, find a reputable HGV training provider to get started.
Here, we present a compilation of the ten most widespread misunderstandings regarding HGV drivers.
1. Anyone can be an HGV driver
Although it is true that almost anyone can meet the requirements to become a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver, it is important to note that not everyone can excel in this profession. To obtain an HGV licence, one must be at least 18 years old, hold a valid car driving licence, and successfully complete the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. However, obtaining the necessary qualifications is only the beginning. Being an HGV driver involves more than just driving; it entails various responsibilities such as route planning, loading and unloading goods, and performing basic maintenance checks. While it is a highly rewarding career, it is not suitable for everyone. Those who thrive in this profession possess the right mindset, a strong work ethic, and a dedication to performing their job well.
2. HGV drivers are male
In today’s inclusive world, it is unfortunate that the field of truck driving remains predominantly male. However, it is important to note that not all heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers are men. As per Logistics UK, there are approximately 3,000 female HGV drivers currently active on our roads. While this figure might only represent 1% of the total HGV drivers, it is steadily increasing. Efforts to promote diversity and address driver shortages have led to various initiatives aimed at attracting women to this profession. Therefore, we anticipate a reversal of this statistic in the upcoming years.
3. Low wages for HGV drivers
Based on industry statistics, the claim is completely false. HGV drivers typically earn approximately £32,500 per year on average. New drivers entering the field can expect a starting salary of up to £24,000, but as they gain experience and pursue further training opportunities, their earnings can significantly increase. By obtaining Category C+E entitlement, drivers can operate articulated lorries and access higher-paying positions. Additionally, drivers can enhance their earning potential by acquiring specialised qualifications such as HIAB crane training and the ADR licence, which permits the transportation of hazardous materials. In fact, experienced HGV drivers can earn annual incomes exceeding £42,000.
4. HGV drivers are irresponsible
HGV drivers undergo extensive training and must regularly undergo additional training to maintain their qualifications. Unlike a lifelong car licence, HGV drivers are required to complete 35 hours of periodic driver training every 5 years to ensure their driving skills are up to date and to learn about any new regulations. As a result, HGV drivers are well-trained, extensively tested, and adhere to strict rules regarding drug and alcohol testing. Additionally, their driving hours, speed, and distance are monitored through tachographs, providing further assurance of their adherence to safety protocols. This emphasis on training, monitoring, and safety makes HGV drivers in the UK among the most skilled and safest on the road.
5. The job is just sitting down all day
In regards to a lorry driver, the common perception tends to revolve around an individual sitting behind the wheel, operating the vehicle. However, the role itself encompasses a diverse array of responsibilities. Some of these tasks encompass:
- Planning delivery routes and coordinating timetables
- Overseeing the transfer of merchandise during the process of loading and unloading
- Guaranteeing the secure fastening of cargo
- Filling out documentation and recording information in logbooks
- Conducting fundamental maintenance inspections.
Being an HGV driver entails much more than simply sitting and driving a vehicle.
6. HGV driving is easy
This is relevant to the misunderstandings mentioned in points 1 and 5. Becoming a qualified HGV driver demands determination and commitment. Moreover, being on the road entails more than just being a skilled driver. It calls for a diverse range of skills, such as a responsible mindset, effective customer service abilities, and the capability to handle stressful situations.
Despite the strict monitoring of driver hours through tachographs, being an HGV driver entails significant mental and physical exertion. The need to remain attentive, engage in mentally stimulating activities, and handle frequent nights away from home can all contribute to the challenges faced by HGV drivers.
7. HGV drivers cause road accidents
Although it is a fact that lorry drivers have a threefold higher risk of being involved in road accidents, this is mainly due to the behaviours of other car drivers. Manoeuvres such as entering a lorry’s blind spot, sudden braking, and abrupt lane changes contribute to the possibility of collisions. It should be noted that just because a road accident involves a lorry does not necessarily imply that the HGV driver is at fault.
8. HGV drivers lack knowledge
HGV drivers are often underestimated, but their experiences and knowledge are far-reaching. As they traverse the country and even international borders, they have the privilege of encountering diverse cultures and individuals. Along their journey, they witness breathtaking sights and have the chance to enrich their minds through podcasts and audiobooks. This continuous learning process keeps their minds sharp and their knowledge constantly expanding.
9. It can be an isolating job
While it is true that truckers typically operate independently, it is important to note that they are not isolated individuals. HGV drivers have regular interactions with various individuals, collaborate with a diverse group of individuals, and engage in continuous communication with fellow drivers from their cabs. Moreover, they exhibit acts of kindness and are frequently the first ones to offer assistance to fellow motorists in distress.
10. Balancing family life with HGV driving is challenging
While it is true that certain occupations necessitate frequent travel both within the country and internationally, there are numerous opportunities for HGV drivers to pursue regional and local jobs, allowing them to return home each night. Even positions that require overnight stays away from home have become more manageable due to the availability of smartphones and tablets. With these technological devices, drivers can keep in touch with their loved ones even when they are far away. Additionally, if a driver does have a long-haul job that requires time away from family, they have the benefit of being at home for extended periods when they return, providing valuable quality time and potentially more opportunities to spend time with their children compared to traditional 9-to-5 jobs.
Becoming a truck driver is a rewarding profession, contrary to common misconceptions. It is an excellent career choice that is suitable for people at different stages of life, whether they are young and starting their first career or seeking a career change later in life. If you are interested in training to become an HGV driver, feel free to contact us at the HGV Driver Training Centre. We provide top-notch HGV training in over 90 locations throughout the UK and can assist you in securing a position. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your ambitions of becoming an HGV driver.