Ice Road Truckers fans - this is for you. Step up and play with the big boys' toys in this awesome HGV Truck Driving Experience. Get into the driving seat and behind the wheel of a monstrous juggernaut as you learn how to master these massive machines, which certainly put the Goliath in HGV. You’ll rule the road and enjoy a truck-load of thrills as you tame the beast and learn how to control, steer and reverse it around an off-road circuit. Happy truckin'!
If you’ve ever pressed your nose against the window as a fire engine roars past, or stared in awe as truck drivers manoeuvre around tiny roundabouts, this is your chance to step into their boots and find out how it’s done. Leave the Eddie Stobart spotter’s book at home and prepare yourself for a herculean experience which is less Lily-Anne and more Lumberjack Larry. You’ll be king of the road and the torque of the town as you master these burly beasts, which prove that size certainly does matter.
There are different ways to take part in this horn-honking experience:
- The Truck Driving Experience (sometimes called the Juggernaut Driving Experience) will see you get behind the wheel of an immense artic truck, learning how to master up to 16 gears and manoeuvring the beast through a series of obstacles.
- The Supercar and Taster Truck Driving Experience is the best of both worlds with a spin in a hot supercar plus a go in a HGV truck
- The Drive a Fire Engine experience sees you take control of a heavyweight truck. Retired from the fire service it is now used to let people like you race to the scene of a fictional incident, blue lights flashing and siren wailing.
- A worthwhile variant of truck driving, particularly for those who have mastered an LGV, is a Bus Driving Experience. Take the wheel of a double-decker and a bendy-bus to see how tricky being a bus driver can be.
HGV Truck Driving Experience
On the day you will be briefed about your chosen truck before learning about gear changes and best practice when handling a vehicle of this size. Then it’s into the air-suspended driver's seat of the cab (or ‘tractor unit’ as it’s known by the pros) for a further briefing, and you’re off! You will get one-on-one tuition from a qualified HGV driver which will be tailored to suit individual requirements, and there’s usually the opportunity for a family member or friend to sit in the adjacent seat too.
The instructor will provide tuition and help you to steer the truck through a variety of obstacles, working your way through the gears and even attempting to reverse. After the experience there will be time for questions and photographs with the truck (please note that there is not always a photographer at the scene) and the participant will also receive a certificate.
Expect to spend around 15-20 minutes driving with additional time for registration, briefings and familiarisation. Altogether the experience will take around 2 hours.
Want longer in the truck? Look out for the extended experiences which offer more driving time. This is particularly handy if you are travelling a fair distance to reach the track in the first place.
Participants must possess a full and valid UK driving licence. Wear flat shoes or trainers suitable for driving.
Master 16 gears! - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Events are held on selected dates throughout the year, come rain or shine.
- WHERE: Truck driving experiences mainly take place at race tracks dotted around the UK.
- WHO: This experience is great for anyone with an interest in road haulage, logistics, suppy chain operations, or simply shiny-looking trucks. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to drive something so dauntingly massive, this is your opportunity in the safety of a dedicated facility with an instructor by your side. It's also a great option for anyone considering a career in long distance road haulage as you'll get a short taste of life inside the cab.
- OCCASIONS: This is a great gift idea for a birthday present or Christmas present. It's also a good choice as a gift for passing a driving test.
- PRICES: Expect to pay £100 for a taster session or just shy of £300 for the best available. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
Top HGV Truck Driver Experiences
There's a small number of experiences available. Here's my top picks.
Dennis RS V8 Fire Engine Driving Experience
Head to Bicester, Oxfordshire, and jump into a 10.6 litre 240bhp V8 Perkins diesel Dennis RS V8 Fire Engine. You'll get to grips with this essential piece of firefighting kit, spending around 10 minutes behind the wheel. Make childhood dreams of becoming Fireman Sam a reality.
Truck Driving Experience
This is the standard truck experience that takes place in a 480 break-horse-power DAF XF truck. The 45-foot long articulated truck is tricky to master - as are its 16 gears - but with direction from your instructor, you'll suss it out quickly. The group experience lasts a few hours and within that, you'll get up to 20 minutes of drive time.
Supercar and Truck Driving Experience
Combine the daunting challenge of handling a 480BHP DAF truck with the thrill of licking a supercar around a race track. This 2-in-1 experience pairs the two options together. Spend up to 15 minutes behind the wheel of a 50-foot rig before racing a supercar (including models from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin) for six-miles around a track. This is a great choice for petrolheads with a curiosity into the life of a trucker.
Extended HGV Driving in Devon
Most of the people who contact me want to spend as much time as possible in a truck. 20 minutes just doesn't cut it. That's why this experience in Honiton, Devon, is my top pick. The experience lasts around 1½ hours in total and, refreshingly, you will drive the truck for most of this time. Better still, it's on a 1:1 basis so you don't need to share the ride with other customers. Tow a 40 tonne, 55-foot long, three-axle trailer with an automatic 460 bhp tractor unit around a massive airfield. This is a top rated experience and rightly so.
(Photo credit to Dakhlallah)