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Your Path to Licensing: Truck License in Victoria

You know that feeling when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, inch by inch watching a truck cruise through the left lane? You bet “Man, I should just get my truck license and hit the open road.” Well, that’s exactly what I did a few years ago. Being chained to my desk and my daily commute, I decided to get a truck driving license in Victoria. Let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I ever made!

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So where do you start with getting a truck license around these parts? I’ll be honest, all the acronyms, license classes and paperwork seemed daunting at first. It’s just a matter of walking into VicRoads and saying “a truck licence, please!” A little more involved than telling. I had to do my homework and make sure I understood what I was doing.

The first thing is determining what “class” of license I want. I’m no math whiz but even I understand that the bigger the car, the bigger the license class number. I noticed HR (Heavy Rigid) which allows you to drive a rigid truck or bus up to 24.5 meters long and 42.5 tonnes. It is assumed that there will cover most of the trucking and delivery jobs.

With goals set, I hit the books – or better, the online study materials. Vic Roads has the right resources to help you prepare for the knowledge test. I printed PDFs of those practice questions and carried them everywhere – the park, the coffee shop, you name it. My coworkers always give me a hard time for working on truck trivia instead of doing actual work.

Knowledge is power (and papers).

A couple study sessions in and it’s time to bite the bullet and take that dreaded knowledge test. Despite my best efforts, some of those road rules and vehicle handling questions really confused me. I failed the first time! Can you believe it?

I rescheduled for a few weeks, hit those practice tests harder, and managed to squeak by a second time. I never felt so relieved as when they gave me the knowledge test certificate. That little slip of paper was like a golden ticket.

Now I was a true truck learner, with a shiny new learner’s permit! It was a good ego boost to travel around town with all the endorsements listed on my license. But of course, the real work has just begun…

Female truck driver

The hands-on stuff

I’m not going to lie, trying to learn to drive a semi with a 22-meter trailer attached was terrifying at first. I signed up for a professional truck training course to get as much supervised practice time as possible. Those first few times behind the wheel and trying to get the truck going without stopping had me sweating bullets.

My instructor was a no-nonsense, no-nonsense guy named Steve who had apparently been driving trucks since the dinosaur age. He had no patience for my dumb mistakes but I have to give him props – he kicked my butt into gear and really hit the basics in me. Upshifting, downshifting, turning, backing up – Steve drilled me endlessly.

Those first few weeks I stopped the truck more times than I can count. I’ll never forget the time I was trying to make a simple left turn and the trailer wouldn’t cooperate. After a few minutes of a tense struggle with the trailer pushing me into the other lane, Steve unleashed a stream of colorful language at me that would make a sailor blush. After that I got very motivated to polish my turning skills!

The home stretch

After racking up enough supervised hours with Sgt. Screamer (my nickname for Steve), it was finally time to evaluate the big license. I have to admit, I bricked it while waiting for my turn at the exam center. All that time, money and effort – failing at the last hurdle would be gut-wrenching.

When it was my turn, I absorbed every trick and lesson that Steve had drilled into me. I triple checked my mirror setups, made all my turns precise and managed reverse park like a pro. Despite a squirrelly moment where the trailer got away from me, I managed to demonstrate safe driving and pass the test. Boom! Just like that, I was a fully licensed HR truck driver.

These days I drive locally for a decent freight company. The job definitely has its challenges, but I’d rather be out on the road than sitting in an office all day. I can travel all over this beautiful state, be my own boss to some extent and bring home a good pay check.

I don’t regret taking a while to get the license. If you’re on the fence about taking the plunge, my advice is to just go for it. Study hard, train properly and take it one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be out there trucking and paying to see Australia. It’s well worth the work, I promise you!


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