Advice for newly qualified drivers: top tips

September 2nd, 2019

We gathered some top tips for newly qualified drivers for you from our experienced drivers at NN1 Personnel to get you more confident and help you start up your career as a professional HGV driver.

As a newbie, you will have loads to take on – more rules and laws, more responsibilities.

Feel free to speak to any HGV drivers you meet on your way to get some more insight on the job or ask for some advice especially if you are not sure of something.

1. Get experience.

It may be more difficult to find a job without the experience as many companies nowadays due to insurance purposes require at least 6 months practice. However with the high industry demand for qualified drivers and driver’s shortage, as a newly qualified HGV drivers, you will get more job opportunities in your field. It is very likely that the highest payed roles will go to those with the most experience. But not to worry. There are still lots of profitable jobs you can get as a new skilled driver.

Try to sign up with driving recruitment agency or look for the job on one of the jobboards such as Reed, Indeed or Total Jobs.

Also, many companies provide Driver Development Programmes and support for newly qualified HGV Drivers . Check this website or this one for some more info about drivers development programmes.

2. #safetyfirst

3. Communication.

It is very important that newly qualified HGV drivers communicate with clients and employers whenever an issue or a doubt occurs. Are you stuck in traffic? Delayed at drop off? Unexpected break?  Make sure you call ahead and keep them informed. Not only will you cover your back but also will prove yourself professional by keeping your client up-to-date with your schedule. This will also help you build a good relationship with them. They will appreciate you tell them what is going on ahead, instead of just turning up late.

4. Watch your hours and breaks.

Make sure you update DVLA if you change the address or if you get any medical condition Watch your working hours and if in doubt refer to this guide. Also, read NN1 Personnel blog on tacho rules and responsibilities.

5. Don’t rush. Always check the height of the vehicle.

Better do it slower but well, instead of rushing and making a mistake that might cost you a job, or someone a life. Do a proper vehicle check and take your time when making any manoeuvres, especially when overtaking. Take your time when securing the load.

6. Look after yourself.

Keep healthy while on the road, eat well, and make sure you get enough sleep and exercise.  If you need some inspiration and ideas check out these tips on how to keep fit while on the road.

7. Keep it tidy

‘A tidy cab = a tidy mind’. Having a mess in your cab can be dangerous for your driving. It could be deemed as careless driving and would land you a fine of £100 and 3 penalty points. It also shows what kind of person you are to your fellow drivers and to your client. Make sure you leave your cab clean and tidy after your shift, just the way you would like to find the cab when you start your shift.

8. Mind your manners.

The personal culture and good habits are very important whatever your profession.  It shows how professional you are and what kind of relationship your client can expect from you. It also gives a good impression to those outside the industry about you as a skilled driver as well as the business you are representing.

If you want to be respected, you also need to show respect to those you work with, work for, and those who you meet on the way. Good manners also apply to everyone on the road.

Also read: What makes a good HGV driver? QUALITIES OF A SUCCESSFUL HGV DRIVER

9. Always plan in advance

As a newly qualified HGV driver, always be alert and plan your route wells. Don’t just rely on Sat-Nav, carry the map with you. Plan your breaks and listen to your body, don’t hesitate to take extra break when you feel tired or sleepy but make sure you let the traffic office know.

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