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What licence do I need to drive an articulated lorry?


Nadeem Vadva  |  23/07/2018


An articulated lorry is a term used in the UK to describe a lorry with a separate cab and trailer. Often simply referred to as an ‘artic’, these are the largest vehicles allowed on UK roads. Hundreds of individuals enquire with HGV Express, wanting to know what license they need to drive an articulated lorry, & below we detail exactly what is required to drive one!...


The C+E license

A C+E license is needed by anyone wishing to drive an articulated lorry or a rigid vehicle towing a large trailer. With a C+E license, a driver can operate articulated lorries weighing over 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg) with a trailer weighing over 750kg.

Since the European ‘large goods vehicle’ (LGV) category was applied in the UK in the early 90s, vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes officially became known as LGVs, rather than HGVs. At the same time, the old ‘HGV Class 1’ license classification became known as the ‘LGV C+E’. However, many people in the industry still use the old expressions, so don’t be surprised if you hear you need a Class 1 license to drive an artic – it’s the same thing as a C+E.



How to get your C+E license 

hgv driver

The first step to obtaining your C+E license is to obtain your C license. The C license is the modern version of the old Class 2. It allows drivers to operate vehicles over 3.5 tonnes but with a trailer weighing no more than 750kg (there is no upper weight limit). These rigid body vehicles are typically used for local and national deliveries.

To train for your category C license, you must be at least 18, have a full car license and pass an LGV medical test. Then, there is a theory test followed by a practical test. At HGV Express we can train and prepare you for the entire process so that it will be completed in a matter of days. You can kickstart getting your Category C license here.

We can then continue your training so you can obtain your category C+E license just two or three days later. This extra training will help you through the additional theory and practical tests needed to qualify as a driver of category C+E articulated lorries.


The benefits of a C+E license

Whether you’re new to lorry driving or you simply want to upgrade your category C license, C+E training from HGV Express is your route to higher earnings. Drivers of articulated lorries are generally better paid than drivers of smaller vehicles. Even newly qualified C+E drivers can start on around £30,000 per year. And the wages of HGV drivers are higher now than ever before, due to Brexit & a massive driver shortage. 

Driving an articulated lorry also gives you a wider choice of job opportunities. For example, artics often incorporate facilities for sleeping and other domestic needs, making them ideal for long distance deliveries across Europe.



Nadeem Vadva
HGV Express Blog Writer


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