The difference between HGV and LGV has been a long-running discussion. Of course, the answer is quite simple: the two are interchangeable (heavy or large goods vehicle), once you forget about LGV meaning light goods vehicle, that is…
But that’s just the start.
Dig a little deeper and you discover more questions. Like what’s the difference between an HGV or LGV licence? Or what’s the difference between HGV or LGV Class 1 and 2?
Again, the answer is pretty straightforward. An HGV Class 1 licence lets you drive a category C+E vehicle – aka an artic lorry. While an HGV Class 2 licence lets you drive a Category C vehicle – aka a rigid lorry.
It’s up to the driver whether they want to get both licences or just stick with one or the other. We often find that many HGV or LGV drivers go for their Class 2 licence first, followed by their Class 1 licence. But there are no fixed rules.
Different HGV or LGV driver licence categories
Category C1: This is your bog-standard level of HGV driver training. A C1 licence is one step up from a regular driving licence and allows drivers to get behind the wheel of vehicles that weigh between 3.5 tons and 7.5 tons.
C1+E: Gaining this licence means you can drive a 7.5 ton vehicle with an attached trailer. Drivers will generally get their Category C1 licence first, before taking their C1 + E test.
Category C: Once you have got your Category C licence, you’re able to drive any lorry or truck weighing between 3.5 and 32 tons. You need to be 18 years old to take this test.
C+E: This is the most comprehensive HGV driving licence out there. It doesn’t get much better than this! With it, drivers can drive and handle all drawbar trailers and artic lorry combinations. It also allows the bearer to get behind the wheel of double trailer trucks.
How to get your HGV Class 1 or 2 licence
In order to get your HGV licence, you must already be able to drive a car and have a Class B licence. You must be 18 years or over and first apply for a provisional HGV driver’s licence.
To do this, you’ll need a D2 and a D4 form from the DVLA. The D2 form you can complete yourself, but the D4 form is a medical, and will need to be filled in by a doctor and optician. Once you’re working as an HGV driver, you’ll need to pass a medical every five years.
The next step is getting your full HGV driver’s licence. This is split into four parts:
Part 1: Theory test. You must score at least 85/100 in a multiple choice test and at least 67/100 in a hazard perception test.
Part 2: Case studies test. You’ll be presented with seven potential situations you could encounter whilst driving an HGV or LGV and you need to explain what you would do. The pass mark is 40/50.
Part 3: Driving ability. The actual driving test. It will last around 1 hour 30 minutes and include vehicle safety questions, practical road driving and off-road exercises.
Part 4: Practical demonstration. You’ll be tested on your ability to load a lorry or truck, deal with trafficking and emergency situations, reduce risks, and conduct a vehicle safety check.