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True grit: Have you got what it takes to be a gritter?


The recent cold snap has shown, once again, just how much we all rely on those intrepid HGV heroes: the gritters. Without the courage and skill of gritter lorry drivers, the nation’s roads would be unusable, towns and villages would be cut off, and to venture outdoors would be to put your life in danger.

Whenever freezing cold temperatures are forecast, the gritters roll into action. Although we call it gritting, the stuff that melts the ice is usually crushed rock salt. Grit is sometimes added to the mix if the conditions are particularly harsh and small stones are needed to aid traction in thick ice. Gritters typically operate before the snow falls and the temperature’s plunge – in the evenings, during the night and the early hours of the morning.

How to become a gritter driver

Of course, gritter driving is not a year-round job (unless you plan to work in parts of the world that are permanently battling the freezing weather). In the UK, gritter lorry drivers are usually on standby between November and April. Many gritter lorry drivers work for councils, which means they will switch to other HGV-driving work when they are not gritting. As well as making public roads safe to use, gritters are also employed to keep private property clear for staff and customers. Retail centres and supermarket car parks, for example, would be inaccessible were it not for the gritters. 

To drive a dedicated gritting lorry – as oppose to a small truck with salt piled up in the back – you will require a Category C licence. This licence also qualifies the driver to operate most fixed body vehicles, from home delivery lorries to waste disposal trucks, roadside recovery vehicles and fire engines.

At HGV Express, we can train you to pass your Category C licence and then seamlessly continue with your training to upgrade to the Category C+E licence. The C+E allows you to operate a vehicle with a trailer weighing over 750kg, whether an articulated lorry or a rigid vehicle towing a trailer. A C+E licence opens up many more career options, such as driving the kind of vehicles that make long-distance deliveries. This can be handy for drivers of private gritters, as they can easily switch to driving delivery lorries for the same company.

We can train drivers for any HGV qualification, whether you want to stick with gritting or expand your horizons to include other large vehicles. With training centres all over the country, training is quick and easy. Call now to discuss what licence is right for you. The you could be ready to step up to the challenge the next time the icy weather strikes.


Heather Scott
HGV Express Blog Writer


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