Part of The Driver CPC initial qualification requires candidates to pass the “practical associated knowledge exam”, otherwise known as “Driver CPC Module 4”
For new entrants passing Module 4 means being qualified to drive an HGV professionally.
This post has been created to help you prepare adequately for your Driver CPC module 4 examination.
This post has been written as a guide only and we recommend you contact your local independent HGV training provider for formal training and assistance with booking your test.
Module 4 has been introduced to allow new entrants to confirm they can carry out a number of operations, other than driving, which are LGV Driver legal requirements. The module 4 test is interactive and you will be expected to explain and demonstrate your answers using a suitable vehicle.
The module 4 test will be undertaken at a DSA approved practical testing centre and should last between 20 and 30 minutes. You must provide a suitable vehicle for the test. For HGV module 4’s this could be a C1, C or CE Remember though. The bigger the vehicle the more you will have to check!
Please don’t forget to bring both parts of your driving licence and your Module 2 (case study) pass certificate.
The examiner will ask approximately 5 questions. The questions will be in the form of scenarios which are supposed to reflect real life situations a professional Driver may encounter in his or her working life. The pass mark is 80% overall, however you must attain at least 75% in each section / area.
In the Module 4 test you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge and competence in the following sections.
Ability to load a vehicle with due regard for safety rules and proper vehicle use
You must be able to demonstrate:
That you understand weight restrictions that contribute to the total weight of a vehicle, and explain what indications you can see that the vehicle may be improperly loaded or overloaded.
How to distribute any load that you intend to carry on your vehicle safely, that it is secured with the correct restraining device/s and will remain stable on the road.
To answer questions on this subject you need to know about the following:
What the vehicle can legally carry including Gross Vehicle Weights (GVW), Train Weights and Axle Weights.
All goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and trailers in excess of 1020 will have a VTG6 plate. The VTG plate, also known as a ministry plate, will be located in the cab and displays the vehicle weight limits.
You should be able to locate the VTG6 and tell the examiner what is the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), Train Weight and Axle Weights of the vehicle. As well as weight parameters you will need to know the vehicle dimensions. If the vehicle (and load) height is in excess of 3 meters then the overall height must be displayed in the cab.
You will need to know how to (visually) check the vehicle for incorrect loading or overloading. To do this carry out the following: check the suspension springs, check the ride height, check the clearance between the wheel and the wheel arches, check for bulges in tyres. For twin wheels (rear), check they aren’t touching at the bottom.
Stand approximately 10 feet behind the vehicle and make sure the vehicle is not overloaded on one side. If you still couldn’t determine if the vehicle was incorrectly loaded or overloaded you could take it to a weighbridge for confirmation.
Understanding the importance of correct load distribution is essential. For example you can overload an axle yet still be within the GVW.)
Forces at work; Centre of gravity A professional Driver must have an understanding of the forces of work affecting commercial vehicles, including:
The vehicle’s centre of gravity is the point through which all its weight acts.
The centre of gravity should be kept as low as possible, along a line running centrally down the length of the vehicle/load. The higher the centre of gravity, the less stable the vehicle and load will be. Therefore when loading the heavier parts should be on the bottom and the lighter parts on the top.
Forces at work: Momentum Is the tendency of the load to continue forward in a straight line when the brake is applied. The higher the speed, the greater the momentum. To reduce the effects of momentum forward planning is advised. Read the road ahead and slow down gradually and in good time.
Forces at work: Centrifugal force: When the vehicle takes a bend the load will want to keep going in a straight line. If a loaded vehicle takes a bend at too high a speed, the centrifugal force acting on it may cause the load to become unstable and fall from the vehicle. At low speed this will be overcome by the tyres gripping on the road surface.
Other forces: High and strong winds can cause problems for high-sided vehicles. Rain. ice, snow can also affect stopping distances. In fact on icy roads the stopping distance can be increased by up to10 times. Therefore the correct use of the accelerator and brakes are important to avoid locking the wheels.
A typical question posed by the DSA Examiner (for section 1) maybe
What visual checks would you carry out to ensure this vehicle was not overloaded?”
A suitable answer would be.
“I would visually check the following:
The suspension springs do not appear overloaded; the ride height of the vehicle is not too low. I would make sure there was sufficient clearance between wheel arches and wheels. I would check for bulges in the tyres.
With twin wheels, the twin tyres must not be touching at the bottom. I would stand approximately 10 feet behind the vehicle and check visually to see if it overloaded on one side. If in doubt I would take to the vehicle to a weighbridge for checking”
Section 1 (Continued)
Using the Appropriate Restraining Device and vehicle dimensions
The DSA has a loading simulator trolley that you must use to demonstrate your answer/s. You must demonstrate your knowledge of the different forms of load restraint available for the different types of loads that the vehicles may carry.
When securing a load the driver needs to consider:-
The load being carried, the suitability of the vehicle, the stability of the load and the type of restraints to be used. You must also consider how to protect the load from the weather, prevention of theft of the load and ease of delivery of the load.
Selecting the right restraining device for your vehicle is essential. It will help secure you load and ensure it stays intact and safe throughout the journey. There are a number of different restraining devices, each suitable for different types of load being carried, including
Containers:- use twist locks.
curtainsiders:- use webbing, (do not rely on the curtains to secure the load)
Pallets:- use ropes or webbing (use sleeves or corner protectors to protect the load, to stop damage to the webbing.)
Loads in a box vans:- use a bar tensioner
Heavy plant:- use chains with shackles and chain tensioners
Sheet steel:- use steel chains with shackles and chain tensioners and chocks
Bricks:- use netting, with tension devices
Bulkers and skip loads:- use netting or sheets
The DSA examiner will have a trolley, with a rope, straps, a ratchet, a chain and chain tensioner and a bar tensioner. The examiner will tell you that you are carrying a certain load on your vehicle and ask what securing device/s you would use. Once you have selected the securing device, the examiner will expect you to demonstrate how to use the device on the trolley correctly.
Security of the vehicle and contents
Another part of the Module 4 practical demonstration test is confirming your skills and knowledge associated with “Security of The Vehicle and Contents”.
You must have knowledge in how to minimise vehicle and load security risks. You need to get at least 75% in this particular section.
You must know about the following:
Where to park your vehicle overnight, before starting your journey. Try to park your vehicle in sight and where you can return to it quickly if needed. Try to park in a well-lit reputable secure lorry park and park the rear of the vehicle up against a wall or another vehicle. When returning to your vehicle, check all round for signs of interference, including load security seals, padlocks, curtain side tears, TIR cord, etc.
Everyday Security:- Avoid regular routes or stops (for newspapers, cigarettes or meals) – a recognisable pattern makes you an easier target for thieves. Never give lifts. It is in fact illegal to carry unauthorised persons when transporting dangerous goods.
A suitable question the examiner may ask is
Can you show me how you would enter and exit this vehicle safely and what precautions you would take before setting off on your journey?
A suitable answer would be
“I would enter the vehicle using 3 points of contact. I would use the foot wells and hand rails provided. Once I was positioned in the driver seat I would check my mirrors to make sure they were clean, clear and in the correction position.
I would make sure the handbrake was applied and neutral had been selected. I would also adjust the driver seat to the correct driving position. Before exiting this vehicle I would check my mirrors and blind spots. If clear to exit I would dismount using 3 points of contact.
Ability to prevent criminality and trafficking in illegal immigrants
The Driver is responsible for his vehicle and its contents.
This includes preventing criminality and trafficking in illegal immigrants. Therefore suitable security checks must be carried out to minimize the threat.
For this part of the Driver CPC exam a full check in and outside the vehicle is required.
The examiner may ask the following
“You have just returned to your vehicle from a break. You vehicle has been parked at a ferry port. You suspect your vehicle may have been tampered with. What checks would you carry out?
Remember you are checking for illegal immigrants and contraband, (cigarettes, drugs, alcohol etc) so a thorough search is required.
A suitable answer may be:
“I would start at the front of the vehicle. I would check the engine area (lift the bonnet and check inside), I would check in and around engine compartment including water washer bottles and anywhere items could be hidden.
I would check wind deflectors, any lockers, wheel arches, suspension area, between the axles (front and rear), underneath and on top of the vehicle. I would check inside the drivers cab including under and behind seats, glove compartments and all cubby holes.
I would open the fuel cap and check nothing was inside. I would check for tears or cuts if curtain sided vehicles. I would check all TIR cord and padlocks are secure and have not been tampered with. I would open up the back of the vehicle and check in an around the load. I would check around the spare tyre compartment.
It is very important to demonstrate your answers to the examiner using the vehicle provided. You must achieve at least 75% in this section.
Ability to assess emergency situations
Another section of the Driver CPC module 4 examination is how to deal with emergency situations. To pass this section you should be able to explain and demonstrate:
Your response to an emergency situation as it develops.
The procedure to adopt if your vehicle catches fire.
The various types of fire extinguisher and which fires they’re intended to tackle.
How to enter and exit your vehicle safely with due regard to other road users and pedestrians.
The examiner may ask you the following question.
“You are driving on a motorway, you look in your mirror and see the rear of your vehicle is on fire. What action would you take?” The examiner is looking for you to provide a safe, methodical and comprehensive approach to dealing with this emergency. Therefore It’s no good saying “I would pull over, get out and run”
A suitable answer to this question would be
“I would initially check my mirrors. If safe to do so I would indicate and stop the ruck as soon as possible on the hard shoulder. I would then turn on my hazard lights, stop the engine, apply handbrake and select neutral.
I would exit the HGV on the near side (passenger), but before exiting I would check my nearside mirror and blind spot. When exiting the vehicle I would use 3 points of contact at all times and exit facing the cab. I would then activate the battery isolator switch.
I would then assess the fire to determine if I could tackle it. If I felt the fire could be tackled I would use an appropriate extinguisher. In this instance I would use either a powder or foam type. I would not use a water based fire extinguisher as this would not be appropriate and could make matters worse by spreading the fire.
If it was a tyre fire then caution must be taken as tyre fires can re-ignite or burst at any time. Once I had tackled the fire or if I felt the risk was too great to tackle the fire I would get myself and others away (possibly upwind) and contact the emergency services.
Ability to prevent physical risk and Demonstrate your ability through a physical, walk-round, vehicle safety check.
Professional HGV Drivers are legally obliged to carry out pre-use vehicle checks to ensure the vehicle they intend to use is in good condition & in safe working order.
In this part of the driver CPC examination you should be able to explain and demonstrate:
The precautions to take before starting the engine (Cockpit checks)
The walk-round safety checks you would make on your vehicle before starting each and every shift.
You can use a check / crib / tick sheet to help answer this one. Your training provider should be able to provide you with this. It will list the items on the vehicle you must check.
The precautions to be taken before starting the engine are otherwise known as cockpit checks. This check is carried out whilst seated in the cab. The “cockpit drill” should include checking the following (good idea to be seated in the cab and start from the left hand side.)
All mirrors should be clean, clear and positioned correctly. The Windscreen should be clean, clear and free of obstructions. The handbrake should be applied and neutral selected. Windscreen washers and wipers should work and the tachograph calibration plaque should be in date.
The speedo should be working and speed limiter plaque should be fitted. The audible warning device (horn) should also be working. All instrument gauges should be in good order. I would start the engine and check for excessive exhaust smoke. Finally I carry out a rolling brake check (drive the vehicle forward 10 feet and apply the footbrake.)
The Drivers Walk Round pre-use Vehicle Check
This check consist of walking around the vehicle checking for defects. You can, if provided, use a crib / check / tick sheet to confirm your answers. The examiner will want you to walk round the vehicle identifying what you are checking and why you are checking it.
This check should include the following. Tyres (minimum 1mm, 3/4 across, full circumference, no bulges, rips, cord exposed, correctly inflated etc.) Wheels (no corrosion or warping and thread depths the same), lights (clean, clear and in good order) indicators (fixed, clean and working), reflectors (fixed clean and working) number plates (fixed, clean and clear.)
When you are completing this section of the Driver CPC exam it is worth confirming exactly what the examiner wants you to check., i.e. Cockpit or walk round check.
You must achieve at least 75% in this section and at least 80% overall. Once you have passed the module 4 exam (and assuming you have passed module 1,2 and 3) you can drive an HGV professionally on the public highway.
You will be awarded a Driver CPC qualification card (DCPCQC) which is valid for 5 years. By the end of the 5 years, and every 5 thereafter you will then be subject to periodic Driver CPC training. This equates to 35 hours formal training every 5 years.
Use our approved Driver CPC training search engine to find your nearest professional commercial transport Training Company from our search page.