How to Become an HGV Lorry Driver

How to become an HGV driver guide

Have you always wanted to become an HGV driver? The UK currently has a shortage of HGV drivers (also known as C and C+E drivers, or Class 1 or Class 2 drivers), so it’s actually a pretty good time to get into it, but the various tests and expenses involved can seem daunting. This guide to becoming an HGV driver has been put together to help you break down and understand the stages involved.

HGV driving is a great career, but is not ideally suited to everyone. Before you decide to invest the time and money involved in becoming a class1 driver or class driver, you should try and talk to people that are already doing the job and find out the pros and cons for yourself. You should also ask yourself the following:

  1. Do you enjoy driving? This may seem obvious, but to many, the roads of today can be a stressful place.
  2. Do you have patience, and are a reasonably calm person? If you are easily annoyed by other road users, or traffic jams, then becoming an HGV lorry driver may not be the correct career choice for you.
  3. Are you physically fit? You do not need to be an athlete to become a lorry driver, but many HGV jobs in the UK involve an element of manual work. Much HGV work in the UK is for food distribution, often to supermarket stores and could easily involve loading and unloading cages off the back of your wagon.
  4. Do you have a good sense of safety? Driving itself requires a good level of alertness and safety consciousness, particularly when you are in charge of a 44-tonne vehicle. Additionally the rules surrounding safety and compliance in logistics are a serious matter, whether you are moving an HGV round a transport depot or out on the road.
  5. Are you a well organised person? Working as an HGV driver involves being organised in terms of route planning, delivery times, and staying within the law. The EU Driving Hours Regulations are quite complex, and you need to be organised to be able to work the maximum hours you want to be able to work whilst staying within the law.
  6. Are you content in your own company? Again this may seem obvious, but do consider the fact that working in an HGV job often involves spending a lot of time in a lorry on your own. To many this may seem like heaven, but it’s definitely not for everyone.
  7. Are you self-motivated? Being an HGV lorry driver involves self-discipline and self-motivation. You will often be problem solving on your own to keep to your schedule, and motivation and belief in yourself are key.

Earnings potential of an HGV Lorry Driver

When you first qualify, you will need to build experience, but there are many vacancies today for newly qualified drivers because of the HGV driver shortage. You can expect to earn from £18,000 upwards as you gain experience, up to around £36,000 as an experienced HGV driver with two years or more under your belt. You can boost you earnings further by taking additional qualifications, such as an ADR licence to be allowed to transport hazardous materials.

What are the hours like?

Most full time lorry drivers will work for around 40 hours per week, but some roles (such as continental lorry driving) involve staying away from home, often overnight in your lorry, when you will qualify for overnight payments known as ‘night out’ payments. Your working hours are strictly governed by the European Union rules for drivers’ hours and the Working Time Directive rules which dictate how much rest you are entitled to and must take. For more information on these regulations, click here for the EU regulations and here for the Working Time Directive.

Getting your qualifications

To qualify as an HGV driver, you firstly must have the following:

  • Have a full licence to drive a car (a class B licence).
  • Be over 18.

Once you meet these criteria, you then need to:

  • Apply for your PROVISIONAL HGV licence to drive a lorry. For this you need to complete:
    • A D2 form from the DVLA, which is free.
    • A D4 form, which is your medical, and is required and must be renewed every 5 years to be a lorry driver.
      • Your GP can arrange your medical for around £120
      • Many private specialist companies can also carry out this medical for around £50.
    • Once you have submitted your D2 and D4, you should get your provisional licence within approximately 3 weeks.
    • You then need to pass your CPC Driver qualification, which involves 4 tests.
      • Part 1 – Theory and hazard perception test
        • You can book part 1 as soon as you have your provisional licence
        • You must bring your photocard licence, or paper licence and passport, to the test or you will loose your test fee.
          • Part 1A is the theory test. There are 100 multiple choice questions and you must score 85 or more to pass. This test costs £26
          • Part 1B – is the hazard perception test, this time with 100 video based questions. You must score 67 or more out of 100 to pass before you can go on to the next stage of getting your HGV Licence. This test costs £11
        • There is a practice test available here
        • There is a hazard perception video available here
        • If you pass, you can book part 3 of the CPC (the actual driving test) within 2 years of passing part 1.
        • If you fail, you will be given feedback, and can re-book another test after 3 working days.


  • Part 2 – Case studies
    • You can book part 2 as soon as you have your provisional licence
    • You must bring your photocard licence, or paper licence and passport, to the test or you will loose your test fee.
    • You will be shown 7 case studies on a computer, and asked 6-8 questions on each case study.
    • The test lasts for 1 hour 15 minutes, and you must score 40 out of 50 to pass.
    • You need to pass part 2 to be able to book part 4 – the practical demonstration.
    • If you fail, you will be given feedback, and can re-book another test after 3 working days.
    • Part 2 costs £23.
  • Part 3 – Driving ability test.
    • You must have part 1 to take this test.
    • You must bring your photocard licence, or paper licence and passport, to the test or you will loose your test fee.
    • You must bring the vehicle with the appropriate class for the licence type you want to take. Most new drivers start off by passing their Class 2 (C Class) licence.
    • The test lasts for about 1 ½ hours
    • The test covers:
      • Vehicle safety.
      • Practical driving on the road.
        • Using vehicle controls.
        • Moving away at an angle uphill and downhill.
        • Performing a controlled stop.
        • Correct use of mirrors.
        • Giving appropriate signals.
        • Showing awareness and anticipation of other road users intentions.
        • Managing progress and controlling vehicle speed.
        • Dealing appropriately with hazards.
        • Selecting a safe place to stop.
        • 10 minutes of independent driving to assess overall ability to drive safely whilst making independent decisions.
      • Off road exercises:
        • S shaped reversing into a bay.
        • Uncoupling and recoupling a vehicle correctly if you are taking the test with a trailer.
      • You will pass if you make fewer than 15 driving faults, but none must be serious or dangerous.
      • If you fail you can book another test immediately, but cannot take it for 3 working days.
      • The test itself costs £115.
      • You will also need lessons, and the costs for this are usually around £1200 for a 4 day course with the test on day 5.
      • Once you have passed, you are qualified to drive and HGV, but cannot drive commercially (for money) until you have taken part 4.
    • Part 4 – Practical demonstration.
      • You must have passed part 2 before you can book the practical demonstration
      • You must bring a lorry to the test that meets the rules.
      • You must bring your photocard licence, or paper licence and passport, to the test or you will loose your test fee.
      • The test covers:
        • Loading a vehicle securely and securing it.
        • Preventing trafficking of illegal immigrants.
        • Assessing emergency situations.
        • Reducing physical risks to yourself and others.
        • Carry out a walkaround vehicle safety check.
      • The test comprises 5 topics from the Driver CPC syllabus – click here
      • You must score at least 15 out of 20 in each topic, and have an overall score of at least 80 out of 100.
      • If you fail, you can book another test immediately, but cannot take it for 3 working days.
      • Part 4 of the test costs £55.
      • You will also need lessons which cost around £200.


  • After you pass all four parts, you will be sent a driver CPC card (also know as a driver qualification card (DQC).
  • You must always carry your CPC card with you whilst driving professionally.
  • You must replace your card if it is lost, damaged or stolen (click here )
  • You will also need your digital tachograph card to be able to drive commercially. Apply for this straight away as it can take 2 weeks for the DVLA to send it to you. The Digi card costs £32.
  • Once you have passed all 4 parts of the test, and have your CPC card and Digi card, you can drive commercially under the licence type you took your test in, and have become an HGV driver!
  • If you took your test with a Class 2 (C Class) HGV, and you want to become a Class 1 (C+E) HGV lorry driver, you need to take one more test. This is a practical test and costs £115.
  • You can see a breakdown of all test costs involved on the government website .

Staying qualified

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) is a qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. It has been introduced across Europe with the aim of improving road safety and maintaining high standards of driving.

Visit JAUPT for more information about periodic training.


Leave your thoughts

Follow Us