The following safe driving tips for van owners is more than just help in preventing accident and injuries, it will also help to keep van  insurance premiums at a minimum because they will lead to a good driving record.

The Main Differences between Operating a Van than that of a Car

  • Vans are taller than cars.
    • All underpasses have a maximum clearance level. Know the clearance of the van you are operating.
      • There are videos of van operators not knowing this and are taped sheering the tops off their van.
    • Vans are heavier than cars.
      • Due to the additional weight, a van takes a longer time to bring to a stop or slow down.
        • Extra distance is required when following other vehicles for safety reasons.
        • The van also requires more fuel because of the additional weight and slower to accelerate.
      • The more of a load the van has in it, the more it weighs.
        • The distance to stop the van increases.
      • Vans have a different center of gravity than cars.
        • Vans are larger than cars and the bodies are higher off the ground.
        • Because of the higher center of gravity, they tend to tip over easier.
          • This is especially true when going around a bend.
            • A reduction is speed is recommended.

The Difference when Operating a Window Van and a Panel Van

  • Window vans have approximately the same visibility as a car.
    • Very few blind spots.
    • The mirrors still have to be used so low profile cars can be seen.
  • Panel vans have large blind spots on both sides of the vehicle.
    • The ability to properly and constantly use the mirrors is required.
    • Some panel vans do not have windows on the rear barn doors.
      • These vans do not have a rear view mirror like cars do.

Things to Set Before Operating a Van on the Road

  • The first thing to do is to properly set the seat distance from the pedals for the driver.
  • The second thing to do is to set the angle of the mirrors.
    • Every time the seat is adjusted, the mirror angles will change and need to be reset.
    • Some mirrors have a concave portion on them in a lower corner.
      • The reflection of the vehicle is not representative of the actual distance. Knowing this to help prevent accidents.
    • Identify the location of auxiliary devices on the instrument panel.
      • Hazard signal button.
      • Windshield wipers and washer button
      • Environmental controls.

For first time van operators, it is best to practice in a parking lot so the feel of the extra size, weight and difference in center of gravity can be felt. This can be as easy as going down an aisle, parking and pulling out again.

Being properly prepared to operate a van on the roads and motorways in the UK is the responsibility of the driver. These tips can help a driver operate a van safely and keep their insurance premiums at a minimal amount by preventing accidents.