Learning to drive a specialist vehicle can open up a range of employment opportunities.
But before you start you'll need to know:
- the correct full licence you'll need to drive the tractor or specialist vehicle on the road
- the age limits for the vehicle you wish to drive (for example, you cannot drive a road roller over 11,960kg until you are 21).
If you have a category B licence (ie: car driving licence), you are entitled to drive:
- agricultural tractors
- mowing machines
- pedestrian controlled vehicles
For all other categories you need the correct full licence to drive the special vehicle on the road.
Learning to drive a specialist vehicle
An approved driving instructor (ADI) can help you learn to drive a specialist vehicle:
- if your vehicle has 2 seats
- if its controls are similar to those of a car.
If there’s only one seat, the instructor will have to call out instructions to you from outside the vehicle. Only an ADI can accept payment for teaching you to drive.
Alternatively, you can find someone to help you learn and practise who is an experienced driver of the type of vehicle you’re learning in. This should be someone who
- can explain clearly and simply the skills you must learn
- is patient and tactful
- builds your confidence.
If your employer needs you to take a test in a specialist vehicle, they should arrange instruction for you.
What to study
You'll need to study the Highway Code and Know Your Traffic Signs because you'll be asked questions on them in the practical test.
You’ll also find a general driving guide useful, such as The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills.
The Official DVSA Guide to Tractor and Specialist Vehicle Driving Tests eBook explains the standards required to pass your practical test.
Practising your driving
You must be at least 17 years old to practise driving a specialist vehicle on the road, and you must put red L plates (or D in Wales) on the vehicle.
Make sure you’re insured to drive the vehicle – if possible, your instructor should be insured too so they can demonstrate the skills you’re learning.
When you first start to learn, try to find somewhere
- quiet with lots of space
- where there are no pedestrians, obstructions or moving vehicles
- with a good flat surface.
If you’re driving on private land, make sure you have the landowner’s permission.