The top 9 characteristics you need to become an HGV driver

Becoming an HGV driver means that you are on the route to a rewarding and enjoyable career. You might think that all you need to worry about is being a good driver, but there are other qualities in a person that will make you the perfect person to sit behind the wheel of a lorry.

Here, Andrea Easton is the Head of Finance and Operations of Walker Movements, leading distributors in used trucks for sale in the UK, shares her advice for what it takes to be an HGV driver and the kind of personality that the role requires.

Training is key

Driving an HGV is not like driving anything else on the road, so you will need substantial amounts of training and a special licence to be able to do so. As you will be in charge of a massive machine that can be very dangerous, the training is extensive, and the test is not designed to be easy.

You will therefore need to be committed to learning and putting in the necessary hours to get your qualification, confidence, and experience. It is also worth looking at whether the companies you want to work for have any other special requirements that you need to obtain before you can start working.

Stress management

Life on the road can be stressful, so it is important that you have the skills and personality to mange this. You will be facing deadlines, and have the added stress of roadworks, traffic and poor driving from other road users. Whatever you are faced with, you will need to be able to keep your cool. You might want to put meditation, music and talking to family to good use to help you block out the problems in front of you.


It is important to always keep in mind that you are driving a huge machine which is carrying thousands of pounds worth of goods. You are responsible for these things, and for the lives of other road users, so it is vital that you show that you take this seriously.

Many people will be counting on you to do your job well and are not looking for you to cut corners and will be consistent in your approach. By being a responsible HGV driver, you can keep people safe and protect the items that you are in charge of.

Being alert

When you are on the road, a lot can change in a split second. Whether it is drivers, pedestrians or even weather conditions, you can often find yourself having to deal with something unexpected.

This means that it is essential that you are alert and aware at all times in order to respond quickly and appropriately. This means that all of your senses need to be switched on so that you can be aware of vibrations and smells as well as sights and sounds. You can ensure that you are as alert as possible by making sure that you are well rested, hydrated and not distracted in any way.

Good driving record

It should go without saying that being a good driver is a huge part of being a great HGV driver. A good driving record that does not have convictions or penalty points will show both your employers and your customers that you are trustworthy, reliable and responsible. It will also help to demonstrate that you are capable of keeping yourself and others safe whilst on the road.

Managing time

As an HGV driver, you will always be against the clock, and there will be plenty of things to throw curveballs at you. The first step to managing your time effectively is to plan ahead.

By checking traffic reports and weather forecasts, you can select the route that will get you to your destination as quickly as possible whilst still taking all of the necessary breaks. You will need to be able to make sure that you can keep a good track of the time whilst driving to ensure that you are on course to meet your schedule.


You might think that being an HGV driver is a lonely job, but you still need to have some good communication skills. You will need to speak to dispatch, your customers and managers in a calm and professional manner to keep them informed of everything that they need to know. This will help you to build relationships and establish trust and goodwill for times in which you might need it in the future.


As you might expect, you will usually be on your own in the cab of your lorry, and so you will need to be comfortable with your own company. You will also need to ensure that you are a problem solver, as the majority of issues that you are likely to face will need to be addressed by you and you alone.

You will need to come up with solutions and put them into action quickly and decisively. Being an HGV driver requires an element of self-discipline to ensure that the freedom the job gives you also means that you make your deliveries on time without the need for directives and close management to support or encourage you.

Mechanical knowledge

Whilst you don’t need to be a qualified mechanic to be an HGV driver, you will need to have some knowledge of the machine that you are in charge of. This is important as you will need to perform a series of checks before you set off to make sure that the truck is safe and roadworthy. You will also be expected to take care of minor maintenance issues whilst out and about to make sure that you can always get to a safe location.

These skills won’t be on any driving test but they are the things that can differentiate a good HGV driver from a great one. By harnessing these traits, you will make yourself a much more appealing prospect to an employer and you are far more likely to be successful and enjoy the job that you are doing.