Driving a van isn’t exactly like driving a car. So even if you’ve been driving a car for years, driving a van can bring a whole new set of challenges.
In this post we’ll share some essential van driving tips while linking to various other resources that’ll help you feel confident behind the wheel of a van.
Separate Laws For Van Drivers
The first thing you need to know is that there are certain special laws for van drivers.
- There are slightly different speed limits for cars and vans. Head here to read our guide to speed limits for vans.
- There are also certain parking regulations for vans, particularly if your van is a commercial vehicle. Head is our guide to commercial vehicle parking regulations.
- Vans are subject to different taxes than cars, so we have written a guide to taxing your van.
- There are some differences between car insurance and van insurance. Here is our guide to the different van insurance groups.
Essential Van Driving Tips
Vans are bigger and more powerful than cars. They carry heavier loads, they have much bigger turning circles, and they offer a completely different view of the road than the one you might be used to.
Here’s some essential van driving tips for first time van drivers:
Get Used to the New Driving Position and How to Drive a Van
If you’ve never driven a van before, the first thing you’ll notice is the lack of a rear-view mirror. You might also notice that your driving position is much higher than it would be in a car.
But vans have much bigger wing mirrors than cars. Though the lack of a rear-view mirror creates a significant blind-spot, those large wing mirrors still provide a substantial view of the road behind you. It may take you some time to get used to relying entirely on your wing mirrors, but you’ll get there in the end.
And though your higher driving position might seem strange at first, you’ll soon learn that it gives you a much better view of the road ahead of you than you’d get in a car.
So the most important thing is to ensure that your driving position is comfortable. Take some time to adjust your seat position and your mirrors to find a set-up that works for you.
Never Forget That Vans Are Bigger Than Cars
Vans can get stuck under low bridges. And if you misjudge a turning, you may scrape a wall or barrier that you thought you’d be able to clear. So to avoid mishaps, get to know your van’s dimensions.
This one might seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook if you’re used to driving a car.
You may also have to pay more attention to the weather than you would in a car. For example, strong winds can topple vans, particularly if they have high sides.
In many ways, driving a van isn’t too different from driving a car. But it’s still important to remember that you’re driving a van, and not a car. Get to know your van, and get used to thinking like a van driver!
Dealing With Excessive Loads
Loading a van is different to loading a car’s boot. You may have to load heavier items, and you may have to secure items to ensure they don’t move around during transit.
And though vans are more powerful than cars, you will still notice the difference when you’re driving a heavier load.
When you’re carrying a load, you should aim to drive as carefully as possible, as your stopping distance will be much greater.
Parking Might Be A Challenge
If you’ve ever struggled with parking a car, then bad news: You might find parking a van even harder.
Vans are longer, wider, and often taller than cars. And the lack of a rear-view mirror can make parallel parking, and reversing into parking bays, particularly challenging.
You’ll also have to think about your van’s rear doors. Often they swing open outwards, so wherever you park will have to provide enough room for you to load or unload.
If you have a passenger, ask them to get out and help you into parking spaces.
Tips For Buying Your First Van
What’s the best van for a first-time driver?
We’ve got a full guide to choosing your first van. As well as listing some of the factors to consider, our guide also covers some of the other things you’ll have to think about – such as whether you’ll need a special licence to drive your van of choice.
Here’s our essential tips to choosing your first van.
Your First Van Insurance
At Insure 2 Drive, we specialise in providing comprehensive van insurance for less, with optional tool cover and breakdown cover. Get a free quote and find our more now.