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What is the LGV Licence and How Does It Work?

Did you know that there is no such thing as ‘a drivers licence’? Yes, it is a physical thing, but there are so many varieties out there that we don’t think there should be just a universal term for it. There are hundreds of different kinds of licence out there, each of which allows you to drive something slightly different, or in a different way. For example, if you drive a car you will have a Category B licence, but if you drive a motorcycle you will have a Category A licence. And if you drive an LGV? You could have one of 4 different licences.

What are the LGV Licences?

For reference, LGV can mean either ‘light goods vehicle’ or ‘large goods vehicle’ depending on who you talk to, but the distinction really doesn’t mean anything when it comes to learning and licences. Not that that’s out of the way, we can look at how they are split up. As with most licences, the LGV licences are defined by the size and weight of the vehicle you want to drive. The bigger the vehicle, or the bigger the tow, the higher the licence qualification you need. For LGV drivers, the licences look like this:

  • Category C+ E: This is the highest of the LGV licence classes, and allows you to drive the largest and heaviest HGVs and construction equipment on the road. So not surprising that this is a highly sought after licence! It lets you drive vehicles with a maximum authorised mass of over 7.5 tonnes, with trailers heavier than 750kg.

 

  • Category C: this is the most commonly held licence for LGV drivers in the UK, and qualifies you to operate vehicles including tipper trucks, bin lorries, articulated lorries and the heaviest of box trucks.

 

  • Category C1 + E: This is considered a lower-class of licence in LGV terms, as it does somewhat restrict what you’re allowed to drive. This covers vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, with trailers of 750kg or more. This might include, for example, a large cargo van with a utility trailer, or a small tipper truck built on a standard truck chassis.

 

  • Category C1: The C1 is the base LGV licence, and is usually passed up in favour of one of the other licences. The C1 licence allows you to drive transit vans and small box trucks, and doesn’t allow you to tow a trailer behind your vehicle.

What’s Involved in LGV Licence Training?

LGV training isn’t just a formality – it’s essential. Even if you’ve driven slightly bigger vehicles in the past, you will need a lot of instruction to be able to drive an LGV safely and properly. While you might think the basic principles are the same, they largely aren’t, and there’s a lot of extra things you need to learn or re-learn, in order to be a safe and suitable LGV driver. The LGV training covers all of the theory and practical skills you need, including:

  • Making turns properly in a lager or articulated vehicle
  • Reversing trucks and trailers
  • Manoeuvring large vehicles in tight spaces
  • Appropriate accelerating and braking techniques
  • Appropriate use of mirrors and other safety equipment 

What About the Tests?

Once you have gone through rigorous training and tallied up enough practical driving hours, it’s time to take your tests. The LGV licence is made up of 4 tests, which are split into 2 sections.

Theory: The theory test ensures drivers have the knowledge to handle driving large vehicles on the road, and the skills to back it up. It’s split into a multiple choice section and case studies section. Multiple choice is pretty self-explanatory, but the case studies section had drivers look at scenarios that could happen to them (and often do) and answer questions on how to handle them.

Practical: The practical test shows examiners that drivers have the skills and experience to be safe behind the wheel of an LGV. The first part is a demonstration of safety techniques, including a full vehicle walk around and going through the pre-drive inspections. The second part is more familiar – it involves going on a drive with an instructor and demonstrating your driving skill.

Driving an LGV professionally can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and opens you up to a lot of opportunities in the future. But before you get that far, you need to choose the right licence for what you want to do, and what you may want to move on to in the future. You can always upgrade your licence later on, but we are seeing more and more LGV drivers take on the top licence right away to save time. If you’re interested in becoming an LGV driver, we would love to help. Just get in touch with the team today.

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