5 myths about forklift driving you need to know

This might suprise you, but quite a few people tend to be a little confused about what a forklift is, what it's like to drive one and if you need any specialist training. Amazingly, even more people believe it's just like driving an ordinary car, and that anyone can just hop in and drive one right away. The reality however, isn't quite as simple as that. Driving a forklift is a very different style of driving to any other type of vehicle (including HGVs), and so needs some specialist training and know how. So today, we're going to go all Mythbusters on you and reveal the most common misconceptions about driving a forklift and what the truth really is.

1. You have to have a full, valid forklift driving licence

This is the first and most common myth around forklift training, and thankfully it's a really easy one to disprove. While you should have some specialist training to help you to understand how to drive and operate one safely, you do not need a specialist licence to drive a forklift. In fact, you don't need a licence of any kind. So even if you can't drive a car at all, or don't hold a licence to drive one, you can still drive a forklift. Though it usually helps if you have some knowledge of driving beforehand.

2. You have to qualify for your forklift licence when you finish training

Forklift training is very important - especially if it's something you're going to be doing a lot, say, in warehouse or logistics work. But training to drive a forklift doesn't mean taking a formal test at the end of it like in your driving test. You can undergo training in forklift driving, which will teach you how to handle, maintain, drive and use a forklift safely, but you don't have to take any sort of test at the end. There is no such thing as a forklift licence at all - employees simply have to know how to use one safely and correctly, and provide evidence that they know this.

3. Forklift training is just learning to drive forwards

Although driving forwards in a forklift is, of course, something incredibly useful and even necessary, it is not the entirety of it. In fact, you'll find that the vast majority of your workplace forklift driving will involve driving in reverse, backing into spaces and traversing a warehouse backwards. This means you will need thorough instruction, practice and training in driving backwards, operating the forklift and manoeuvring safely. You will also need to learn how to drive safely with a load on the front of your forklift - which is not as easy as it sounds (and overbalancing is a real risk), as well as carrying out all of the safety checks needed. This makes it even more important that you undertake proper training before you try to drive one.

4. Forklifts are just like any other vehicle

This one is fundamentally just not true. While they do have 4 wheels and an engine, that's about as far as similarities go. Which is why specialist forklift training is essential to their operation. For starters, a forklift uses its rear wheels to steer, unlike any other vehicle you might have driven. They are equipped with a three-point suspension system, which means they handle very differently from any car, van or even lorry you might drive, and increases the danger of swinging out and causing damage or injury if not driven properly.

5. Forklift training takes a lot of time

Now, you might be thinking this one is true, given the rest of the article. But actually, full forklift training can be done in just 5 days. This allows you enough time to go through all the theory, technique, safety and still get in a lot of practical driving time, which is one of the more important aspects. Learning how to handle a forklift takes time, trial and error, which we can offer you in spades.

So, if you'd like to learn how to drive a forklift and add yet another string to your HGV bow, we can help. Just get in touch with a member of our team for more details.

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