LGV assessment

I was up earlier than usual this morning, as I had to be up the road in Hinckley for an initial LGV driving assessment. The bloke assessing me seemed surprised that I had never been in the cab of anything bigger than a Luton van (under 7.5 tonnes) before, and he had to explain some basics to me, like the fact that you start an LGV in 3rd gear, unless you are on a hill. He also had to explain the handbrake to me. To me, that is why I am going for lessons. Sure, he can assume that I can already drive a car, but cars and lorries (as he himself said) are very different beasts, but why would he assume that I knew anything about lorries, other than what was required to pass the theory test? I had the same thing when I did my Direct Access course for my motorbike licence, and had to tell the instructor to go back to first principles – for some reason, he seemed to assume that somehow everyone has prior knowledge of riding a motorbike, and it felt a little bit like that this morning. Anyway…

I drove the lorry for about half an hour, into and out of Hinckley town centre. I felt a little bewildered at first, but felt more comfortable towards the end of the session. Like a motorbike’s front brakes, the air brakes on a truck are very good at what they do, so you have to go a little easy on them. The guy observing me commented that I had good all-round awareness and made good use of the mirrors and positioned the lorry well in the road and around junctions and roundabouts. He was impressed that I didn’t hit a single kerb throughout the session. His final conclusion was that I could probably manage fine with a five day course rather than the seven day course that they run. He said he was quite relaxed throughout the run, but that he thought I needed to work on my confidence – that would come with some more time. So, all in all it went pretty well for an initial assessment. Now I need to book the five day course.

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