Top Tips for Driving a Van

Top Tips for Driving a Van

There is nothing to be concerned about while driving a van for the first time. A driver who can handle a car in a competent manner can drive a van as well. Van driving need not be a stressful endeavour, but it can present some challenges. It’s important for every van driver to know a few van driving safety tips, regardless of how much experience they have with them. 

These tips for first-time van drivers will come in extremely useful no matter if you’re a newbie, renting a van for moving, or a seasoned pro.


van 4

Be familiar with your van

Knowing your van well is just as significant as learning a new skill. These days, most vans come with all the amenities that you would expect in a normal car, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, automatic airbags, satellite navigation, the touchscreen, on and on it goes. Knowing your van might be easier than you had imagined. This is very essential for first time van drivers. You should also ensure that you have a comfortable driving seat and not to forget the steering wheel airbags for safety. Always have a view of the road that you consider for travel.

Get acquainted with the van features by taking a look through them all. As a result, you will not be preoccupied by figuring out how the system works while driving. Don’t hit the road until you are confident with how the headlights, screen washers, temperature control, air conditioning, and radio work.

Find out how the control panels work

When looking for the lights, you could easily cause an accident by omitting to look at the road. As soon as you get into a new ride, it is important to learn about the dashboard, indicators, flashers, and brakes. Know your stability control systems in case of modern vans, since they will be different from that of an average car or van.

Before setting out, you should also get familiar with the gearbox and controls. The standard five gear system in most cars is replaced by six gears in vans. Feel confident when driving long distances by practising shifting through the gears. Using the additional gear on motorways will help you save fuel, but it shouldn’t be a concern.

Van gearsticks are typically mounted on the dashboard, close to the steering wheel, which is an unaccustomed position for van drivers used to driving cars. Additionally, some vans are equipped with a sixth gear to help with fuel economy, making it a good idea to double-check this before you head out on your journey rather than finding it halfway there.


van 1 scaled

Don’t let the roof catch you off guard

There is a big height difference between most vans and the typical car. It means that height restrictions need to be considered while driving a van. Make sure your van fits into the multi-story parking garage by knowing its size and height.

Since conventional vans are comparable in size to those on the first level, you shouldn’t be concerned about height. For the very lowest bridges and other structures overhanging, the largest I4 vans may not be able to pass.

Especially tall vans should avoid underpasses if they are on your route. Getting the width of the van is also essential. It is easier to choose parking spaces that are suitable for your vehicle if you are able to calculate your vehicle’s space requirements.


Understand the dimensions

An easily noticeable difference between a van and a car is its height and length, which places restrictions on how and where it can be driven and parked. It is important to know the dimensions of the van before making an entrance to get into a car park, particularly below-ground ones or those that are height-restricted. Keep an eye out for spanning structures, tunnels, large trees, and roads with narrow shoulders. The idea is to get the driving position and the judgment right.

Knowing your travel paths is essential

The first time you drive a van, planning and preparation are essential. Ensure that you are comfortable before you start the engine. On long journeys, make sure you reposition your mirrors and check the position of your seat.

A lot of planning goes into driving a van when you’re new to it, especially if you’re not familiar with the route. It can be dangerous to drive in an unfamiliar area, since this can lead to anxiety and affect your safety on roads. Driving a van will also require you to adapt to a different level of visibility. Your seat and mirror will need to be adjusted accordingly since you’re much higher.

When planning your route, keep a lookout for lowered overpasses. When you are starting out, stay away from single-lane country roads, tight curves, and complex turning points. If you want to ensure your safety on the way, turn on the satellite navigation system or get familiar with the main roads.


Weather should be taken into account

Before you start your journey, you should consider the weather conditions. A van can perform well in poor weather in the same way as a car, but it must drive slower and brake with more margin.

Especially when you are driving a van with no cargo, high winds can pose a risk. Because of their higher centre of gravity, they are more susceptible to windy weather than a vehicle, whose centre of gravity is lower.

It is best to slow down when driving in windy circumstances. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and keep your eyes on the road. Buses and trucks with high sides are particularly dangerous. In poor weather conditions, avoid driving as much as possible. It can be especially difficult in a van you’re not familiar with.


choosing the right van size for your needs

You should load your cargo securely

When the van is loaded properly, it can make a significant contribution to the vehicle’s handling and performance. To spread the weight evenly, the cargo should be loaded as evenly as possible along the wheelbase. Tie down particularly tall items if all of the items cannot be anchored. Your van may become wobbly if you manoeuvre items, which may damage other belongings.

Before loading things into the van, check the total load capacity. It is possible to determine the van’s cargo capacity from its VIN plate. There is a difference in driving an empty van and a fully loaded van, hence a first time van driver should drive safely and in accordance with the speed limit.

Keep an eye on your speed

There are many differences between driving a car and a van. Weight is a determining factor, and you need to be aware of these differences. When driving a van, you should maintain your distance and watch your speed. A loaded van will have a larger stopping distance due to its weight.

In addition to the van’s braking ability, a heavy load will impact its speed and manoeuvrability. When in doubt, allow more space than you feel is imperative to remain on the safe side. In case of rain, consider even more clearance for breaking. Apart from this, drive according to the speed limits.


Be on the lookout for blind spots and turn your van

Compared to a car, a van has a different rear visibility. Consequently, it has a different blind spot. For you to see your surroundings, the vehicle doesn’t have a back window or rear window. However, the wing mirrors will serve some of the same purpose. Always be aware of your blind spots when operating a van. It may be necessary to leave more space for turning based on how huge your van is. You have more vehicles behind you than you are accustomed to, so you have to make a bigger turn than you are used to.

When approaching a tight corner, always think ahead both literally and figuratively. When approaching a corner, take your time to consider any obstructed areas that may prevent you from turning. In the interests of your safety and the safety of other drivers, it is okay to completely stop if you have to.

How to park your van

No matter how good you are at parking, it’s hard to park a van, as it’s much wider than an average vehicle. Irrespective of where you parallel park your van, or if you park in a space, keep in mind your van’s length and width. In addition, take into account the turning radius and the amount of pivoting needed to reach the space. When you can bring someone with you who can help guide you through the building or other space if need be. In the absence of a shotgun accomplice, parking a van should be handled with caution. Mistakes are inevitable. There is no need to feel guilty about it, just take precautions.

Regardless of how you use your van, you should have it insured (van insurance) in case something should go wrong. By following these tips, you should be ready to take your van for a spin.