Driving a van for the first time is easy – once you get used to it

by Darwin on October 30, 2014

You have ordered a van for your business and you are just about to take delivery. You will get a chance to give it a test drive first, but as you have never driven a van before you are feeling just a little nervous that you will make a fool of yourself or even worse.

Vans, especially larger vans, can be a little intimidating at first. However after a few miles you will find that you can relax a little and begin to enjoy the experience. Driving a van is a different experience from driving a car, especially the fact that you are higher and you can see a lot more both in front of you and the countryside in general.

There are just a few things that you will need to prepare in advance. Of course you must ensure that it is legal, that you are taxed and you have van insurance. Once that is sorted out, you should ensure that you are aware of the height and width of the van and its overhang, which is where you are most likely to encounter problems.

Note that vans generally are too high for car park height barriers, so don’t forget and try to drive underneath one; your nice new van will certainly object. This is a novice error that happens all the time.

In terms of width it is the mirrors you need to look at for as well as to look in to. Van mirrors are generally quite large and are stick out significantly further than the width of the van. It is very easy to forget about this and drive too close to a wall, or even another van which also has wide mirrors. That sickening feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you hear the bang and the crash of mirror glass disintegrating on the road is all too common. Fortunately with many vans you can replace the glass quite cheaply if you haven’t damaged the rest of the structure, so you might not even need to make a claim.

Another common error is to fail to understand the way the overhang behaves when you are turning. The overhang is the rear part of the van that extends beyond the rear wheels and some van overhangs are very large. What happens as you steer the van to the right is that the overhang steers to the left, quite unlike a car. This means that if you have parked alongside a wall, then you must pull away using only a gentle lock until the overhand is clear of the wall. If you try to pull away using a fuller lock, the rear of the van will inevitably collide with the wall. The same situation applies which you are parked alongside another ban or car. Pull away slowly and watch what is happening to your rear end.



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