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Reportedly, there are 100,000 fewer fully licensed HGV drivers in circulation in the UK. With a reduction in the number of new HGV drivers coming through and a rise in those reaching their retirement, the shortage has a knock-on effect on the UK supply chain. Impacting large organisations such as Haribo and Sainsbury's have warned of disruptions to availability due to driver shortages and the need for newly qualified drivers.
At Search Driving, we have years of experience within the transport industry and truly appreciate our driver's crucial role for our clients and within the supply chain. We partner with major players in the distribution and retail industry to provide quality vehicles and safe working conditions, alongside a better work-life balance for our drivers. We understand that being on the road is demanding, but believe it's a rewarding job that offers flexibility and competitive pay.
We recently held a Driving Day experience for all of our Search Driving team, with consultants travelling from Scotland and all over the UK to Liverpool to experience a day in the life of an HGV driver. We teamed up with Driver Link, a leading driver CPC centre, and the team there did a great job showing us the ropes and putting us through our paces. From completing vehicles checks and coupling and uncoupling a trailer to driving a Class 1 HGV and even reversing into a tight space, the team truly experienced a typical day of HGV driver duties.
Lindsey Thompson, Head of Driving UK, says: "It really made us appreciate just how special the job of an HGV Driver is and we are definitely better equipped to support drivers now when they are out working for us."
Complete vehicle checks
Before beginning your journey, HGV drivers are responsible for making sure their vehicle is safe to drive. They must carry out walk-around checks of the vehicle and report any defects in writing. The requirements set out by the DVLA include mirrors and glass, windscreen wipers and washers, front view, dashboard warnings, steering, horn, brakes, seatbelts and height marker checks.
At Search, we provide drivers with a vehicle check checklist. However, you can download a diagram supplied by the DVLA here.
Couple and uncouple a trailer
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is a basic requirement for the safe operation of combination vehicles. Coupling involves attaching the trailer and the tractor unit, whilst uncoupling is the process in reverse once the vehicle reaches its destination. Coupling and uncoupling should be carried out by trained and experienced drivers, as misalignment can cause safety risks.
Safely secure a trailer
Effective load securing prevent goods from falling and causing danger to other road users and ensures goods arrive at their destination undamaged. The DVSA and other regulators provide guidelines to ensure operators, consignors, and drivers secure loads when in transit.
Driving a class 1 or class 2 HGV
After climbing the steps to the driver’s seat, you’ll find that the view ahead is approximately 10-feet from the ground. This means that if somebody was to walk immediately in front of the truck you wouldn’t be able to see them, which is why most trucks come with additional wide-angle mirrors that point downwards to offer a better view. Alongside driving safely from A-B, you’ll be required to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces when you get to your destination and when taking a break and refuelling.
Ahead of your journey, you may want to plan your stops based on the facilities and parking available. There are websites such as HGVParking.com where you can find suitable places and read recommendations from fellow drivers.
As an HGV or LGV driver, you are not static in one place, unlike a 9-5 office job. When driving your mind is occupied and engaged with the rules of the road and you have a sense of freedom when out delivering freight to its destination.
Are you looking for your next role or considering becoming a HGV driver? At Search Driving, we work closely with our drivers to support them as they undergo training and licence renewals. We partner with major players in the transport and retail industry and offer flexible shift patterns and establish a schedule that suits you. Discover the benefits of driving for Search and browse our driving jobs today.
Not currently looking for your next role but know somebody who might be? Don’t forget, we offer a referral bonus of £250* for any new HGV drivers who join our team. Make a referral today.