Driving for a living can be a rewarding occupation. The open road, the absence of office politics and no one watching over your shoulder can be attractive to many people. Added to that, there may be opportunities to travel abroad, hauling loads around other European countries. There are many opportunities for people with the right qualifications, skills and attitude. Vacancies always exist for truck drivers, ranging from local delivery companies to international hauliers who transport goods by articulated lorries. Of course, there are also vacancies for coach drivers. So how do you go about becoming a professional driver?
The first step is to decide whether or not you like driving! This might sound an obvious question to ask, but professional driving is not for everyone. Especially on long-haul trips, drivers can be away from home for several days at a time. Loneliness is also an issue for some people.
However, if you decide that you really want to drive for a living, the next step is training for the Correct Type of Licence. For anyone who wants to drive rigid vehicles (non-articulated) over 3500kg in weight, a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence is required. Anyone over the age of 18, providing they are medically fit, can undertake training for an LGV. Training for the licence can vary, depending on the time available for tuition. Probably the best way to do this is to book a concentrated course of lessons, usually over one or two weeks, with the test at the end of the course.
Many drivers are happy to stop at the LGV licence, which will allow them to drive most large delivery vehicles. However, for some people, the lure of driving big articulated lorries pushes them onto the next stage. The basic LGV licence is classed as Category C, but to drive articulated lorries, a Category C + E is required. This involves some further training and another driving test. Once the C + E is achieved, the world, and of course the road, is really your oyster. Articulated lorries are used by food companies, chemical suppliers, engineering firms and manufacturers to transport goods around the continent.
Transporting goods by truck might not seem appealing to many would-be professional drivers. Instead, some like to drive other people around, whether it is coach holidays or on city buses. This type of driving licence differs from the LGV type – to drive buses and coaches a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence is needed. Again, the training for this is relatively straightforward. A short course, followed by a driving test, will usually be enough to qualify as a coach or bus driver.
Regardless of the type of professional licence that you want to achieve, the driving test is not the only assessment component. Before starting the practical course of training, trainee drivers must sit and pass a theory test. Similar to the Car Theory Test, the test for lorry and coach drivers consists of two parts. Firstly, there is a multiple-choice test that comprises 60 questions about road use, traffic signs and questions applicable to the type of licence being applied for. The pass mark for the first part is 51 out of 60.
The second part of the theory test is hazard perception. You will watch 14 short video clips and you are required to ‘spot the hazards’ during the clips. High scores are awarded to people who can spot the hazards early before the hazard develops into a serious risk of an accident. The pass mark for this part of the test is 50 out of 75.
Successful completion of both theory tests and practical driving tests will give the new driver the qualifications needed to start driving for a living. Freedom away from the restrictions of a nine-to-five job, and a great lifestyle await those with the determination and attitude to drive professionally.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.