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Tipper Truck Hire: What you need to know

Posted on by Whitgift Hire Team

Many years ago in the UK, you could pass your car driving test one day, and apply to take a test to drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle the next. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now in the UK, one has to take tests for different vehicle categories in increments; car test, light goods test, and finally heavy goods test. Each section requires a certain amount of time driving smaller vehicles before moving up to larger ones.

However, if your ambition is to drive your own tipper, all is not lost. Many small builders, demolition companies, or moving companies use small tipper trucks, up to a maximum of 3.5 tonnes gross weight, which can be driven on a standard car licence.

If you wish to become self-employed as a tipper driver, many lease companies supply small tippers which can be driven on a standard licence. When enquiring about these commercial vehicles, don’t get pick-up mixed up with tipper. A pick-up is a rigid-backed vehicle; a tipper requires a PTO (Power Take Off), which is the auxiliary unit required to raise the rear body to eject the load.

It’s surprising how quickly the time passes. Soon, you can take your HGV licence, and be able to drive the heavy tippers you see going back and forth on road or large building contracts. The previous experience on smaller vehicles should stand you in good stead to pass at the first attempt.

Tipper driving is not all about sand, ballast, and bricks. Tippers can be used to deliver a whole range of building materials although most, unfortunately, have to be unloaded by hand, unless a forklift is on site.

Many types of light material are also transported by tipper. The stringent laws in the UK today about running overweight, or with an insecure load, can lead to heavy fines. Always carry a couple of good nylon ropes. A fine mesh net, which can be pulled over a light but sharp load, and a good quality tarpaulin to stop paper and cardboard loads being blown all over the roads when you’re moving. In the UK that’s classed as an insecure load. A shovel, long handled brush, rake, and crowbar should also be part of your equipment.

Every operation on the modern day tipper truck can be operated from inside the cab. When delivering onsite, all the driver has to do is release the tailgate, then climb back in the cab to complete the operation.

Materials like sand or ballast will fall from the lorry as the body rises without a problem. Other materials, such as soil, or wet soft sand, can be more of a problem. In such cases, ensuring no-one is in front of the truck, and with the body raised, put the lorry into first and drop the clutch. This will jerk the vehicle forward and usually get the load to slip off the vehicle. Failing that, it’s get the trusty shovel, and jump into the back to release the load with that.

Finally, wherever you are operating on site, always ensure the vehicle is on solid ground. It the ground is soft, and a wheel starts to sink, do not risk raising the body. If it’s already raised, before anything else, lower it. With the back raised, the centre of gravity will be raised as well. The risk of the truck falling on its side is a very real one, and one of the most common truck accidents on site.

Whitgift Hire provide a range of tipper trucks and lorries for hire, including the VW CR35 Tipper 2.5 TDI and Man 7.5 ton trucks (C1 on driving licences is required for our 7.5 ton vehicles).

Our rates are highly competitive, and include unlimited mileage, 24 hour service support and breakdown assistance. Get in touch today for more information.

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