Driving an HGV in London is unlike driving in any other city in the UK. That’s why training in London can give you an edge when it comes to actually working in the capital as a professional driver. We’ve weighed up some of the pros, cons, and general differences when it comes to driving in London versus driving in any other UK city.
The congestion in London can be unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else, so you’ll need to factor in much more time for the same distance compared with other cities. Then there’s the Congestion Charge, which may or may not apply depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving and what level of emissions it produces. Of course, there are some pros to the congestion in London. You’re far less likely to be involved in a high-speed collision with another vehicle, for example.
However, you may find it much more difficult to find a place to stop for your break because of the number of vehicles parked on the road, so using an app to find safe and convenient places to pull over may be necessary. With our specialised HGV training for London you’ll learn how driving under these conditions differs from any other road network you could be working on.
Although there is a great deal of congestion, you need to be far more aware of bikes in London, which can zip through the traffic surprising drivers who aren’t paying full attention. 44% of the motorcycle casualties in the UK in 2015 happened in London, which is a huge number for a single city, even if it is the capital. Due to the number of cyclists regularly killed and injured on London’s roads – especially by HGVs – a full ban on HGVs travelling on some London roads is still being discussed.
The Mayor of London has set out a £915m scheme called the Cycle Safety Action Plan, and has set a target of 40% fewer casualties on London’s roads by 2020. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are prioritised in this action plan, and this has put a spotlight on HGVs. Despite making up less than 4% of traffic on the roads, HGVs are involved in half of all collisions with cyclists, so expect your driving to come under a great deal of scrutiny if you’re working in London.
Drivers may need to complete the TFL Safe Urban Driving CPC as a requirement for driving in London, and your vehicle may be assessed to make sure it meets new proposed safety standards. Our training incorporates the essentials of cyclist safety, and will help you to understand and avoid the dangers around cyclists.
London’s roads have a number of restrictions that affect HGVs far more than they affect any other type of vehicle. You’ll find weight limits, low bridges and other height limits, and width limits on many roads. The City of London itself has a 7.5 tonnes gross weight limit allowed on all the roads in its central areas.
The London Lorry Control Scheme is a set of measures to prevent HGVs of over 18 tonnes gross maximum weight from causing problems for residents. This scheme restricts the movement of HGVs over 18 tonnes GMW during evenings and weekends. Some roads will be off limits to HGVs during these times, so you need to know which you’re allowed to travel on and which you’re not.
The right training will show you how to deal with these restrictions, and give you the right resources to know when and where you can drive.
HGV driving jobs are slightly less plentiful in London than they are elsewhere in the country at the moment. An average HGV driver’s wage is £27,000 per annum, and London wages are generally in line with this.
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