Do you think you have what it takes to work as a HGV Class 2 Driver? Getting your Class 2 driving licence and hitting the road in a rigid large goods vehicle with a trailer weighing up to 750kg opens up an exciting career path that can see you travelling home and abroad, long distances and short.
Before you decide on a career as a HGV Class 2 Driver, or any career for that matter, it is always a good idea to hear from the people already in the role and get a behind the scenes perspective. With this in mind we interviewed Class 2 Driver, David.
How long have you been a Class 2 Driver?
I have been a Class 2 Driver for almost 8 years now.
Who are you currently driving for?
I drive for a local company who specialise in transporting irregular freight items like big and heavy parcels and packages.
Are you driving locally or long distances?
I usually drive within the UK, I suppose you would say they are shorter distances as I don't tend to go abroad but when you travel from the south of England to the north of Scotland and back again it doesn't feel very short.
What made you decide to become a HGV Class 2 Driver?
I was looking for a job for ages and bounced around a few different ones for a while. I signed up to an agency and was working as a Delivery Driver for a bit and saw that there were lots of long term HGV Class 2 driving jobs available if you had a Class 2 licence and some good driving experience.
I saved up for a few months and invested my wages in to getting my Class 2 licence and have not looked back since.
Do you want to get any other licences?
I definitely want to get my Class 1 licence soon; I have been working towards it for a while now. Even as a Class 2 Driver there are plenty of Class 2 driving jobs and career options available but if I have a Class 1 licence it adds on even more jobs I can do. Having good job options is one of the main reasons I wanted to be a Class 2 Driver so it makes sense to get as many qualifications as I can. I would love to do some long distance driving abroad in an articulated truck.
Do you see yourself driving trucks for the rest of your career?
At the moment I do, I can't imagine a time when I don't want to drive for a living but even if I do want to step back from the long driving hours I could get a job in the transport office so I am still working around trucks and using everything I have learned to help some of the newer drivers coming in.
How do you cope with other drivers being careless or dangerous around you?
That's not so bad, in the cab you are sitting up so much higher than the other road users you get a good view of what is going on around you. You just have to relax and concentrate on your own driving, that way you don't let other drivers stress you out.
Driving a big truck around a town or a city is a bit more stressful than when you are driving the motorways but even then, you just have to be aware of everyone around you and not try to rush.
Is spending so much time alone in a cab difficult or lonely?
Driving all day every day is not for everyone and some people could struggle with being alone in a cab for long periods but you find that professional drivers are all one big family, you make so many friends and meet tons of new people all of the time when you are out on the road. It is best if you take the time to get out of the cab when you are on a break and talk to other drivers, I probably speak to more people now than I did in some of my old jobs.
How do you keep your mind occupied?
I love audiobooks, I listen to different ones all of the time and find that they help to pass the time and keep my brain busy.
How do you keep a healthy diet when you drive all day?
I am not great at this bit to be honest; I always try to prepare healthy food and snacks but when I have stopped for my rest break and I go out to stretch my legs there is always something much more appealing on offer that I can’t resist.
What are the best bits about being a Class 2 Driver?
I really like that it is always different. Sometimes I am away for a few days and other times I am home every night, sometimes I am driving close to home and other times I am seeing some of the most beautiful places that the UK has to offer.
What are the worst bits about being a HGV Class 2 Driver?
Traffic! It comes with the job, but no one likes to be stuck in traffic for ages not going anywhere.
When you moved from delivery driving to be a Class 2 Driver did you need to learn any unexpected new skills?
Driving a bigger vehicle was obviously the main new skill I had to learn but I think it I also had to adjust to thinking about it all a bit differently. As a delivery driver you need to get as much delivered as you can, you are up against some pretty tough time limits regardless of the traffic. There is still an element of that as a Class 2 Driver but you can only do so much and a long journey up the motorway can’t be rushed and you are restricted to legal driver hours - it takes as long as it takes, you just have to learn to relax.
How has your job been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am still driving just like before really, parcels and packages still need to be moved and delivered, but the roads are much quieter now. At the beginning of the lockdown restrictions it was quite a challenge to find somewhere to stop and have a break that had facilities I could use but there are petrol stations that are open and you can get most things you need in them.
What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a Class 2 Driver?
Before you jump in and get in your Class 2 licence get some delivery driving experience. You can find delivery driving work that is longer distance so you can get used to driving up and down the country and see if you like it even when it is busy or when you have been sat in traffic for hours on end. Once you have your licence and you start taking on Class 2 driving jobs, concentrate on building up your experience, take on the routes that will challenge you and push you to be a better driver so you are confident in most situations and locations.
Taking care of your mental health will get you through some of the toughest times on the road. Long hours out on the road alone, working around other road users and trying to remain calm when you are under pressure to deliver on time, can have an impact. Take a look at our recent mental health awareness blog post for HGV Drivers for practical advice and top tips for maintaining good mental health.
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