As an HGV driver, you are already aware of the difficulties posed by your lorry’s size and weight. However, your job is to deliver the load as quickly and safely as possible. Driving to any new place, a city especially, may be challenging and stressful, or at least problematic, that’s why it’s a must to check the possible obstacles you may meet. How easy is it to drive an HGV in London?
#1 The Direct Vision Standard and HGV Safety Permit
Apart from being the best HGV driver thanks to Easy As HGV, you need to know local rules on roads to avoid serious issues with the police.
HGV drivers in London have had to cope with quite new obstacles since March 2023, keeping a great number of cars away from the city if they don’t have a required HGV safety permit or don’t comply with the Direct Vision Standard.
If you’re a driver of a lorry over 12 tonnes in gross weight, you won’t be allowed into the city centre of London without the permit. The permit is free of charge, so it’s really best to apply for one to avoid quite high penalties for driving into London without it.
The Direct Vision Standard gives the information on how much of the road drivers can see through a car window.
#2 The London Lorry Control Scheme
When planning a route through London, you have to be greatly aware of the London Lorry Control Scheme, giving the drivers all crucial information on where they can or can’t drive. The scheme was introduced to stop lorries over 18 tonnes from driving into residential areas, causing some issues for HGV drivers, who need to find an alternative route to reach their destinations.
The central areas of London are limited to vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tonnes (gross weight). However, some restrictions are only for weekends and evenings, while other roads will be off-limits, which means thorough planning of the route beforehand, without trusting your GPS app.
#3 The congestion charge
It’s nothing surprising to read that London suffers from congestion, with the traffic heavier than in any British city. That means two things for HGV drivers – reserve more time to reach the depot, or your destination, and make sure your employer pays the congestion charges.
They are connected with the emission the car produces, and in Low Emission Zone it costs around £100 a day.
#4 Don’t get surprised by bikes
Bikes are not a rare sight in London, quite the opposite, which means car and lorry drivers may easily be surprised by them zipping through the traffic. The Mayor of London set up the Cycle Safety Action plan, aiming at reducing cycling casualties. When driving a large lorry, it is even more challenging to see a bike, which requires double attention.