A Guide to Different Kinds of Trucks in the UK

The truck industry in the UK continues to be healthy despite competition from foreign companies and alternative forms of commercial transport. According to the latest Department for Transport figures (2016) compiled in support of the UK commercial vehicle industry, which gives insight into vehicle sales figures, commercial vehicle suppliers and what types of commercial vehicles are on our roads, there were at the time 343,674 HGVs in operation.

This same report indicated that the most popular truck in the UK was the 7.5 tonne HGV, although it was said that the market for these had gone into a slight decline. However, Tipper truck sales continue to be buoyant with tipper trucks being the dominant force in construction and the burgeoning waste management industry. 

Types of Truck in the UK

Trucks commonly come with a single trailer behind the tractor unit, but double, or centre-axle trailers are an increasingly common sight in the UK. Here is a guide to the most commonly seen types of trucks on our roads today.

1. Curtainsiders

These versatile trailers are commonly used as variable and flexible transporters. Because the curtains can be removed, goods can be loaded onto the trailer more easily in crates or on pallets. Most haulage companies have their names and company information printed on the sides. 

2. Flatbeds

Any commercial vehicle from 3.5 tonnes upwards can be utilized as a flatbed. Smaller vehicles (7.5 tonnes) are used mostly in the construction industry to move things like pipes, wood structures, or pallets of bricks, whilst the biggest vehicles can often be seen carrying very large, heavy items like plant vehicles or other commercial vehicles.

3. Tail-lifts

These trucks are equipped with a hydraulic lifting mechanism to enable safe and easy loading of heavy cargo or several pallets at once. You’ll often see one of these delivering furniture or white goods to domestic and commercial premises.

4. Car Transporters

These are used to deliver cars or vans between dealerships or between a holding center and a dealership. They usually have two layers, or sometimes three, which means they create a massive presence on the road.

5. Tipper Trucks

These hard-working and versatile vehicles are used to move around construction industry aggregates, or they can be seen operating on waste sites. Some tipper trucks have self-leveling capabilities for safe tipping and all are fitted with a multitude of safety features to ensure stability and prevent rollovers. They are able to raise the truck bed to tip the onboard load and then lower it once the load is dropped.

6. Tankers

Most people associate tankers with fuel and, of course, they are often used to transport petrol to filling stations. They do carry other goods though, such as milk, flour, or chemicals. When carrying volatile or flammable fluids, they are required to display the appropriate warnings to alert other road users as well as the emergency services in the event of an accident.

7. The 7.5 Tonner

These are smaller than the average HGV and used to be able to be driven by anyone with a pre-1997 category B driving license displaying a C1 entitlement. However, the DVSA says that you must now complete a mandatory 35 hours of Driver CPC training. The usability of the 7.5-tonne vehicle means it is popular for home removals or delivery of small items.

8. Crane Mounted or HIAB 

These are often used in the heavy construction industry, where moving heavy pallets is not practical for a forklift truck. The crane or HIAB lift can simply grab the items to be moved and place them exactly where they are needed.

Whether you’re looking to lease or hire a vehicle, there’s certainly plenty of choices available on the UK market, whatever type of truck you’re looking for.

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