One thing most drivers notice is that driving a Van is not exactly the same as driving the average car or SUV. If you are thinking of buying a van or will be driving one for work or possibly renting one, it is only natural to feel a certain amount of apprehension when you get behind the wheel.
It is very natural for those without much experience in driving vans to find them daunting and difficult. But, by understanding a few small facts about driving vans it is easy to adjust your driving techniques to be more confident in your capacity behind the wheel of these larger vehicles.
Here are six important tips from Fridgexpress to keep in mind to give you peace of mind and enlightened perspective when driving a van.
1. Get comfy
Before you even put the key in the ignition, take a moment to get comfortable in the driver’s seat. Make sure the mirrors, seat and steering wheel are in position for maximum comfort and ease of use.
Driving a van is typically going to require plenty more hours of work and time spent in the driver’s seat. With this in mind, doing all you can to get comfortable in your cockpit is important to avoiding cramps, aches and pains that can make the trip harder.
One of the most notable things to adjust will be the rear view mirror. This is one of the first things to inspect upon entering the driver’s side of the car.
But, once everything has been properly adjusted you will notice that from your raised position and large wing mirrors your commanding view of the road and driving environment makes for a very comfortable driving experience.
2. Know your van
Getting physically comfortable in the driver’s seat is important. But, it is equally important to attain a level of fluency and ease with the special features these vehicles typically include.
Before you set off on your journey, make sure that you know exactly how the various functions of the van operate including the lights, wipers, radio, AC/Heat, etc.
The last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure these gadgets out while you are driving. Next take a moment to consider the size and dimensions of the van itself. We all had a good laugh at the poor chap who managed to drive their van or truck under a low overpass or access ramp and got the top of their vehicle badly damaged.
3. Loading your van
Whether you are loading your van with office supplies, tools or personal belongings, knowing how to accommodate your cargo in the cargo space will keep you safe from injury. Be very careful when lifting heavy loads and always get help if you can.
Beginning with a plan to carry as much as possible in one trip will be the best way to avoid making multiple trips. This is important whether you actually own the van or are just renting. The fewer trips you make, the more time and energy you will save in the long run.
4. Adjusting your driving behavior
When you are driving a heavy van full of goods around town, you will find that driving slow and steady is the best plan.
Studies performed by the VolksWagen Company have proved that a fully loaded van will take a whole two meters more to come to a full stop than an empty one. This figure is increased to 5 meters when travelling at speeds of over 60mph. This is not something most people jumping behind the wheel of a fully loaded van are aware of and why there are so many accidents.
Beware of these differences and compensate by driving slowly and carefully. This will make your travel safer. Be extra careful on corners and when driving in residential areas.
5. Parking your van
You may have noticed that the length and width of your van are much greater than that of your average car. This will have to factor in when you are parking. It is always a benefit to have someone step out and guide you through this process.
You will also want to check how the doors open up and consider what the best orientation to park your car will be in accordance with your destination and other obstacles in the vicinity. Knowing this beforehand will make it easier to choose a good parking space when the time comes.
6. Driver etiquette
Everyone is tired of the stereotypical white van man who operates aggressively once behind the wheel of a larger vehicle. Always remember to operate your vehicle with care and caution. You will be in a larger vehicle and this means that you should drive with greater consideration for the other cars out there.
Be cautious and wary while out on the rods. Never put yourself or any other cars in danger by taking unnecessary risks in the large vehicle. Always leave plenty of room for other drivers to navigate around.