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The Ultimate Guide to Heavy Rigid (HR) Driving Courses: Everything You Need to Know

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Trucking is one of the most lucrative industries with high demand in mining, construction and logistics. And if you are looking to kickstart or further your career in truck driving, having the qualification to help you get the footing on your career path is the first step. This is where HR driving courses come in. The course is designed to offer proper training to drivers seeking to drive heavy-rigid vehicles, which comprise some of the largest and heaviest trucks you can find on the roads: vehicle carriers, semi-trailers, large passenger buses, road trains, etc. Driving such vehicles can be dangerous and often poses significant risks to other motorists, which is why the course is essential. This piece has all you need to know about it.

Are You Eligible?

You must meet certain criteria to be eligible for an HR driving course. Heavy-rigid vehicles are extremely powerful, making driving experience is a key component in the eligibility criteria. You must have enough driving experience to enable you to control such powerful vehicles. Therefore, you need a car licence, a light-rigid (LR) licence or medium-rigid (MR) licence that you must have held for a minimum of a certain period. The driving school you choose should explain in detail how long this period should be. However, keep in mind that it may vary depending on the class or type of licence you currently have. Don't panic if your driving experience is below the minimum though as you may be able to apply for a learner's permit.

If you have medical conditions such as eyesight problems, epilepsy, etc. that may inhibit your ability to safely drive a heavy-rigid vehicle, you may have to provide a fitness certificate, proving you meet all the national medical standards needed to operate such machinery. A clearance certificate from a specialist for any of the medical conditions will also come in handy, especially before your HR licence is issued.

What Do You Need for Your Licence?

On successful completion of your course, you will need to complete a knowledge test as well as a practical driving test on the road to obtain your licence. Keep in mind that the knowledge test isn't usually required if you previously held an LR or MR licence for the minimum period needed. 

What Can You Drive With Your HR Licence?

There are two types of HR licences: conditional and unconditional. The conditional HR licence is an entry-level licence, ideal if you're just starting your truck driving career. It's also cheaper than the unconditional HR licence. However, you will only be limited to heavy vehicles fitted with an automatic gearbox such as buses or coaches. The unconditional HR driving licence, on the other hand, gives you a broader range of vehicles you can drive including road rangers and other heavy-rigid vehicles with either automatic or manual gearboxes. It's ideal if you need to further your career in truck driving, especially if you previously held an LR or MR licence.