Tips for driving a van for the first time

Driving a van for the first time can be daunting. You might be worried about the extra size and often people worry about driving without the use of a back window . But, sometimes a van is a necessity and that’s where our tips for driving a van will come in handy. 

8 tips for driving a van 

Here are our top 8 tips for driving a van for the first time: 

1.    Make yourself comfortable 

You’re getting into an unfamiliar vehicle. Spend a few moments getting comfortable in it. Adjust the mirrors and your seat positon to be comfortable and confident when you’re driving. Check out where the wiper, indicator and light controls are and shift through the gears with the engine off to get a feel for them before you set off.

2.    Take your time

Larger vehicles take a longer time to get going, stop and turn. You’ll need to take more time than you’re used to in your car to stay safe. Slow down more than you normally would for tight corners and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. 

Take a look at some of the consequences of speeding.

inside of a van

3.    Check the limits 

You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the limits of your van. Speed limits are often capped for larger vehicles so make sure you know how fast you’re allowed to travel. You’ll also need to be aware of your load limits so you don’t exceed the maximum weight your van can safely handle.

4.    Know your route 

Driving is always much easier if you know where you’re going. Plan your route ahead of time so you can be confident you’ve planned the perfect journey and are aware of any diversions or difficulties you’re likely to encounter on the road. This will also help you plan out where you’re going to park too. 

Check out our tips for using a sat nav.

Check out our vans

5.    Keep an eye on your blind spots 

You’re going to have a few blind spots that you simply can’t see when you’re driving a van. When you’re merging lanes or pulling over, make sure to check over both your shoulders to be certain there’s no obscured car, cyclist or pedestrian. 

6.    Watch the weather 

This is a good tip for driving in general, but even more important for when you’re driving a van. Windy weather can be dangerous for high sided vehicles like vans, especially when they’re empty. If it’s windy, slow down and leave lots of room between you and the vehicles around you. Take a look at our tips for driving safely in the rain too. 

empty van waiting to be loaded

7.    Pack to perfection 

Getting your items safely from A to B relies quite heavily on how you pack the van. So much so, we’ve got a separate blog post devoted to the art of loading. Check it out

8.    Parking tips 

Reversing and parking a van can be daunting. Lots of people worry about the lack of a back window or rear-view mirror. But, being higher up on the road with large mirrors on either side gives you plenty of visibility. Find a safe place to stop and take your time with parking. For added confidence, ask your passenger to get out and direct. 

See our tip for parking unfamiliar vehicles.

If you keep these 8 tips for driving a van for the first time in mind when you’re out on the road, you’ll not need to worry. Remember, you’re in control and can take the all the time you need to pull out, corner, break and park safely. 

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