Tips for Your First Time Driving a Van

Posted by in Useful Tips | November 15, 2018

It can be nerve-wracking driving a large vehicle for the first time. Whether you’ve got a new job that requires you to drive a van, or simply find you need more space.

There are a few things you can do to minimise your worry when on the road and help you approach this new venture with confidence.


Step one is to check you have the correct insurance. This applies whether driving your own purchased van, or whether just hiring.

This will cover you should anything happen to you whilst on the road, and you can rest easy knowing that legally you comply and have saved yourself from potentially extortionate fees if an accident occurs.

Lack of Rear View Mirror

A lot of vans do not come with a rear-view mirror as the van doors at the back are blacked out and you can’t see through them regardless.

Take your time to find the best seat position for you that allows you the best view of the larger side mirrors – these are crucial to knowing your surroundings when on the road and cannot be ignored.

Find Your Controls Before You Set Off

Peering around the steering wheel to find your windscreen wipers for only a few seconds greatly reduces your awareness of the road ahead. Taking your eyes off the road for even this small amount of time can have fatal consequences.

Take 10 minutes before you embark on your journey to figure out where all of the necessary controls are.

Knowing this in advance will give you peace of mind that you are less likely to need to take your eyes off the road and can focus solely on a safe journey.

Know the Dimensions

Vans are usually bigger than even the larger types of cars. Manoeuvring a larger vehicle can cause issues if you don’t know the dimensions of your van.

We recommend you attempt a few manoeuvres, such as reversing and parking, before you hit the road and are forced to perform these without practice and under pressure.

Doing this can help you get a feel for the spaces your van will fit into and save you damaging your/other vehicles, which could incur huge charges if only borrowed on a hire basis!

Know Your Load

It would be incredibly distracting while on the road to be worrying about the contents you are transporting and how much they’re moving around in the back of the van. Find out what the payload is of the vehicle before goods are loaded on board as this is imperative to ensure the vehicle functions correctly as too much weight can cause severe damage to the suspension etc.

Tie the goods down or ensure they are stacked properly to avoid having to worry about or sort this whilst en route. This will help you be certain that your focus will be on your journey rather than a mess in the back of your vehicle.

Check the Speed Limit

Vans can often have different criteria in terms of speed limits. To avoid putting yourself in both legal and real danger, make it a priority to check whether the van you’re driving must comply with these different speed limit regulations.

For example, on single carriageway roads national speed limit is 60, whereas for vans it is 50 – this is a large difference that cannot be ignored, therefore it is vital to adhere to these rules.

Whether you need to hire, or intend to purchase a van, refrigerated or otherwise, here are our top tips to help you feel more comfortable on this journey. If you need to put these tips into practice and hire one of our vans for a journey, please feel free to get in contact now!

About the Author – RVR

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