Driving a van

Tips and advice for driving a van safely

Advice for van drivers

If you are used to driving a car and have never driven a van before it is worth considering some basic points which will make your van driving experience easier and your journey safe.

Many of the things we take for granted in cars, such as good visibility and responsiveness may not be the same when you come to drive a van. Smaller vehicles such as the Vauxhall Combo are very much like a car to drive but lager vans such as the Luton Transit may require a fresh approach.

Before you leave the van rental centre

When you collect your van and before you drive it away from your rental centre it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the vehicle and its controls as much as possible. If you are unsure about the controls ask the rental assistant who will be able answer your questions. It is likely that your rear view may be slightly more obscured than you are used to. Adjust your seat to the correct height and position and then alter your wing mirrors to ensure you have as much all round visibility as possible. The van is likely to be much higher than you are used to so it is a good idea to know how tall the van actually is, you may have to avoid certain car parks and possibly low bridges depending on height restrictions. Before you set off on your journey think about and plan your route carefully, think about accessing your van for loading and unloading if you are delivering goods, and remeber that this may affect where you park and even the route that you take.

Safe van driving tips

Vans are generally wider and higher than a typical car, but they are also heavier and can take longer to slow down and stop. They can also be less stable. Take extra care if it is raining or dark. Watch your speed, not only to make sure that you are driving at the correct speed limit, but also that you can safely stop if you have to. Different speed limits are in place for vans and you should make sure you know what speed limits apply, consult the The Official Highway Code for up to date information.

There are likely to be blind spots which you may not have had to worry about before, use your mirrors as much as possible and take extra care when pulling out and overtaking. It is a good idea to get into the habit of looking further ahead and allowing for potential hazards.

Parking and reversing your van

When parking your van, or reversing, make sure that you use your rear view mirrors and do not be afraid to ask someone to guide you if you are unsure. By parking and reversing as slowly as possible you should find that the van is much easier to manoeuvre. Do not forget to take in to account where your doors are and how far they open. Van doors can often be quite large and may require a bit of room before they open fully.

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