In 2021, the HGV industry was facing a crisis due to a lack of drivers. There were many issues that caused this, but it meant that different campaigns caused a lot of people to consider this as a career which they may not have done in the past.

The number of drivers is now growing as more people realise what the role has to offer. So, to help you on your career journey, Fleet Ex, global suppliers in ex-fleet trucks share their advice on what it takes to become a truck driver?

Be a good planner

Being a good truck driver is very much dependent on your ability to plan well. You will not only be able to decide how you are going to get from Point A to Point B, but you also need to think about the time of day that you are travelling, the weather conditions that might affect your journey and whether all of the roads are suitable for the truck that you are driving.

A sat nav can do some of this work for you, but it will also rely on you to work out where you will need to take a break and how you will adapt to a snowstorm or congestion. Having good planning skills is therefore important in order to ensure that you reach your destination on time and as efficiently as possible.


Becoming a truck driver can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also a big commitment. As you will spend a lot of time out on the road and you may be asked to work some unsociable hours, it can mean that you will need to make some sacrifices at times. It can limit the time that you are at home with your family, and you may even find that you are away from home for several days at a time if you are asked to travel across Europe.

Whilst this can make a fantastic career for some people, it is not suitable for everyone, and so it is important that you understand what commitment you will be making before you enter the industry.


As you spend much of your time alone in your cab, you might not think that communication skills are essential, but you would be wrong. No matter how much planning you do, there can still be curveballs that mean your day does not go the way that you thought it was going to. In these situations, it is important to stay in touch with your company and let them know what is happening.

They may be able to do things that can help you and they can communicate with the clients involved to let them know that you might be delayed. By keeping them in the loop, they can keep customers happy, and you can help to avoid huge disasters. This means you need to stay professional at all times and communicate as much information as possible so that a solution can be found more easily.


To be a working HGV driver, you need to make sure that you have the correct licence in place. This should start with a normal driving licence, before moving on to different licence categories depending on the size of the truck that you are looking to drive. This is something that you can build up over time, but you will need to take theory and practical examinations for each licence that you apply for, so make sure you get as much experience behind the wheel as possible with a qualified professional alongside you.

Medical condition

Being physically and mentally fit is also very important when it comes to being a truck driver. You need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time, have good eyesight and good reaction skills. You will also be sedentary for many hours whilst sat in the truck, and this may be an issue for certain medical conditions. Many employers will insist that all new HGV drivers undergo a full medical check before they are allowed to get behind the wheel.


There are strict laws in place which dictate the number of hours that truckers are allowed to spend driving before they need a break. This means that you may be required to get some sleep while you are out and about, and sometimes this might be necessary even when you don’t feel as though you need it.

As you will most likely be sleeping in a special section of your cab, it can help if you are the sort of person who can fall asleep in any place and at any time. Your cab is likely to be cosy, but it will not be as comfortable as your bed at home, and you may experience a lot of noise and light pollution, so you must be able to shut this out and enjoy a quick nap.


The say that patience is a virtue, and this is particularly important when it comes to being an HGV driver. Not only will you have traffic jams and bad drivers to deal with, but you will also be subjected to a lot of waiting around at docks for loading to be done and paperwork to be completed. It can sometimes feel as though this takes an eternity, and so you will need to be incredibly patient at times.


The cab of your truck can be a very solitary place, so you need to be someone who is comfortable in your own company. If you need to have someone to talk to at all times, then this may not be the career for you. Being an HGV driver can mean that you spend hours, or sometimes even days or weeks alone, and so you need to be comfortable with this.

Being an HGV driver is a fantastic career, but just like any other job, it requires a certain skillset and personality that goes beyond just a love of driving. You need to be fully prepared to embrace the type of lifestyle that it offers in order to get the most out of your new role.

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