Much like many jobs and industries, there are several technical terms, acronyms, and phrases that HGV drivers will likely come across in their day-to-day work.

From the technology you’ll interact with to the qualifications, licences you’ll need or even language used on-site, there’s a lot to know.

It can be a little overwhelming at first, so here’s a helpful list of some of the most used terms and their definitions to get you started.


Our Glossary of HGV Terminology

ADR – Short for the French phrase “Accord Dangereux Routier”, an ADR driver is someone who has completed the necessary training and attained an ADR licence, allowing them to transport hazardous materials by road. This is a very strict requirement across Europe.

Artic – In British English, ‘artic’ is shorthand for “Articulated Lorry”, which is when the cab and the trailer are combined into a single vehicle, usually through a pivot joint.

Cat C1 Licence – This simplest HGV licence you can hold, allowing you to operate small delivery vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, usually used for local deliveries, without a trailer.

Cat C Licence – This type of licence allows you to drive vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes without a detachable trailer, including box vans and small lorries.

Cat C+E Licence – The most advanced HGV licence you can hold, allowing you to drive drawbar and artic vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes with a detachable trailer.

Class 1 driver jobs – These jobs require applicants to have already obtained their C+E licence, meaning that most driving duties in this position will require the driver to have a complete understanding of how to operate C+E-rated vehicles.

Class 2 driver jobs – These jobs require applicants to have a CAT C Licence at minimum, meaning that drivers will typically operate smaller delivery vehicles.

Draw Bar – This term is usually used in reference to an unpowered trailer with at least two axles.

Digital Tachograph – Each vehicle you drive will have a digital tachograph fitted as standard. This device will record your vehicle’s speed and distance travelled, alongside driver activity. You will have a driver card that will need to be inserted into the tachograph so that any information it records can be assigned to you.

Driver CPC – Standing for “Certificate of Professional Competency”, the Driver CPC test is designed to test your ability to safely drive on UK roads professionally. You must have a licence before completing this training, and drivers must undertake 35 hours of periodic training every five years.

Driving Assessment – When joining a new company, you will likely be asked to take a driving assessment, which is a theory test that will check your knowledge and understanding of the UK Highway Code. This will sometimes be accompanied by an on-road practical test.

Empty Running – Goods vehicles that are not currently transporting any goods are “running empty”.

FLT – This is an abbreviated version of ‘forklift truck’, which are typically used to transport goods around a warehouse.

FTA – The Freight Transport Association, which is a key trade body for UK logistics.

Hi-Ab – Originally this was a brand name for a lorry-mounted crane. Nowadays this term is used to refer to an HGV that comes fitted with its own crane.

LTL – An abbreviation for ‘Less-than Truck Load’, which means a load that doesn’t fill the whole container. This can also be called a ‘Part Load’.

RHA – Short for the ‘Road Haulage Association’ which is another of the main trading bodies for UK logistics.

Shunting – The process of moving trailers a very short distance, usually within a logistics yard.

Tail Lift – A mechanical lift attached to the back of a trailer to assist with the vertical lifting and lowering of goods in and out of the trailer.

Tramping – The process of making long-distance HGV deliveries that require the driver to sleep in their cab, sometimes for several nights in a row. A ‘tramper’ is a driver who specialises in these kinds of deliveries.

Trunking – Deliveries that use regular routes or roads, such as motorways or A-roads, that can be commonly repeated. Several of these deliveries may be completed in a single shift.


Start Your Logistics Journey with H&G

While not a comprehensive list, these are some of the more common terms and phrases you will likely hear throughout your work.

If you’re looking to kickstart or continue your career in HGV driving and logistics, then H&G Recruitment are here to help.

Choosing the right recruitment agency for you is key, speak with a member of our team and find out what we can do for you.

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