In the United Kingdom and across Europe, driving a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) requires a special kind of license, and only a licensed HGV driver can drive a heavy goods vehicle. To get licensed, a driver needs to take a test sanctioned by the government. The formal name for HGV as set by the European Union (EU) is large goods vehicle (LGV). It was changed from HGV to LGV because not all European countries have a word for "heavy."
HGV is typically divided into two categories. The first is Category N2, which allows a goods vehicle (such as Lorries) to load a maximum allowable mass (MAM) of up to 12 tons. The second is Category N3, which allows a vehicle to load more than 12 tons.
The HGV driver is tasked with transporting heavy goods from one client to another within the United Kingdom or other parts of the EU. Transport could be from one dock to another, from warehouse to customer, from factory to warehouse, from warehouse to retailers or from many other possible destinations.
HGV drivers typically transport goods by driving a trailer, rigid truck, tanker or special transporter. Driving an HGV vehicle can be a taxing job, especially because the driver is usually required to work about 40 hours a week plus an additional 5 to 10 hours a week. However, a rest day is mandated by the government.
No formal education or scholastic training is required to become an HGV driver. One must have a basic understanding of English and mathematics, however, as well as training and experience in professional driving. Knowledge of the different traffic rules across states and countries, keen navigation skills on the road and a good background in auto mechanics are all required, too. Mathematics is needed because the HGV driver needs to complete paperwork and record sheets accurately and completely. Other requirements for HGV qualifications include good eyesight, good health (driver must pass a medical exam) and a good enough physical condition wherein the driver is able to load and unload goods.
The HGV driver is an important asset to logistics and trucking companies. The job requires a lot of responsibility as the driver has to be dependable to ensure the deliveries are made on time and at the right place. The load needs to be secured, and risks of hijacking and accidents need to be prepared for. With the help of an assistant, an HGV driver may also be tasked with loading and unloading the goods in and out of the vehicle. Because the driver typically has first-person contact with the customer when making the deliveries, an HGV driver must also possess customer service skills.
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