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Do You Know Your HGV’s?

HGV Training Centre

How many types of HGV can you name? For most people there are maybe 2 or 3 before they run out of ideas. But the truth is there are hundreds of types of HGV in the world, some of them more common than others. After all, a HGV is just a ‘heavy goods vehicle’, and is defined mainly by size and weight. To help you understand a bit better (and give you some more answers for next time you’re asked that question), we’ve put together a bit of a spotters guide for you.


Dry And Consumer Goods Vehicles

This is where the idea of your ‘typical’ HGV comes from. A rigid or articulated long-length lorry, which are mainly used to transport dry and consumer goods around the world. These are the most versatile of all HGVs, because they can be used to transport pretty much anything. From crisps to clothes to plant pots, computers and anything in-between. They generally come in two varieties – ‘box’ (which looks like a shipping container), and ‘curtain-side (which look like industrial shower curtains over a metal frame).


Flatbed Lorries

Flatbed lorries are a good all-rounder, because they have a flat, open body that’s perfect for transporting large, heavy items that just won’t fit into containers. This means you see all sorts of weird and wonderful things strapped to them, from boars and machinery to construction materials and even a fully assembled mobile home!


Emergency Vehicles

Now, let’s preface this by saying that not every emergency vehicle will require you to have an HGV licence (though most will require you do to some service-specific advanced driving courses). The only one that requires an HGV license is a fire engine, due to its size and weight. And even then, you will still need to do some specific training on top of your licence.


 Livestock Lorries

Any vehicle used to transport livestock, from chickens to horses. More often than not these will be large lorries, but you will see curtained sides and slits for the animals to be able to breathe. They are fitted inside with protective caged to keep the animals safe in transit, and are usually configurable so that they can be changed to fit any kind of animal. Typical examples of animals moved this way are pigs, chickens, cows and goats. These are generally only designed to be driven short distances, so as to avoid unnecessary stress.


Refrigerated Trucks

These are pretty much exactly what they say on the tin – they are trucks and lorries that are refrigerated. This type of HGV can be as small as a single refrigerated truck, right up to a refrigerated container strapped to an articulated lorry. Anything that needs to be kept cold to preserve it is moved around in one of these. Their most common use is in the foods and drinks industry, transporting anything from bottles of coke to raw meat ready for packaging and processing.



Tankers are the gigantic tube-like containers that you sometimes see strapped to the back of a lorry, held level by metal struts and marked with bright lettering. Tankers are designed to transport liquids, and can carry anything from the most hazardous and toxic chemicals used in manufacturing, right the way through to water reserves. Because of their shape and design, they are completely sealed and safe, so you don’t need to worry if you see one! Fun fact, they are also used to transport other ‘liquid-like’ materials that would be hard to move any other way – like grains, sugar or other powders.


Specialist Vehicles

This is what we like to call the ‘all other vehicles’ section, because it’s where all of the other types of HGV that don’t really fit into the above categories end up being put. These vehicles are often designed for a very specific purpose, with industry needs in mind. This means they can’t really be used for anything else, and may actually only be used at specific times. They include:


  • Cement mixers
  • Snow Ploughs
  • Highway maintenance vehicles
  • Tow Trucks
  • Car Transporters


At the HGV Training Centre, we can help you learn how to drive each and every one of these HGV types – and more. Our expert trainers have years of experience not only in training, but in driving these vehicles every day. That means you’ll get much more than textbook training with us – you’ll get first-hand knowledge, experience and tips too. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with the team today.

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