Our top 5 tips for those driving a van for the first time
Driving a van for the first time can be an intimidating experience. With its large size and different handling characteristics, it can take some getting used to. But, with a little practice and some helpful tips, you can become a confident and safe van driver in no time. Here at Intack Self Drive, we’ve been providing our customers with easy and reliable van hire, car hire and minibus hire for more than 30 years, so we’ll be able to provide you with some top tips for driving a van for the first time.
Know the dimensions of your van
One of the most important things to keep in mind when driving a van is the size of the vehicle. Vans are generally larger and taller than cars, so you need to be extra aware of the dimensions of your van when you’re manoeuvring it (particularly when parking!). Make sure to check the height and width of your van before driving, and pay attention to any height restrictions or low bridges along your driving route. Essentially, it’s important to understand the dimensions of your vehicle so you can avoid bumping into a solid surface like wall – or worse, another vehicle.
Take it slow
When driving a van for the first time, it's important to take it slow and steady. Vans are heavier and have a higher centre of gravity than cars, so they can be more difficult to handle. So, approach each turn and corner slowly, and make sure to give yourself plenty of room to stop should you need to. In any worst-case scenarios, over-steering a van could lead to it turning over, which we think you’ll agree, is not the most ideal scenario.
Give yourself extra space
Generally speaking, vans are larger and heavier than cars, so you’ll need to give yourself a bit of extra space when driving. In comparison to driving a car, you need to be sure to leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you, and give yourself more time to react to traffic lights and stop signs. What’s the reason for this? Well, the size and weight of the vehicle means that the stopping distance is larger than that of you average car. So, in order to avoid accidentally bumping into the back of another vehicle, aim for a minimum gap of two seconds between you and the vehicle in front. Anything more is even safer!
What’s more, vans tend to have much larger blind spots than cars, so it's important to be aware of them when driving and manoeuvring. Make sure to check your blind spots really thoroughly before changing lanes or making a turn, and consider using a spotter when backing up or parking to avoid any accidental bumps and scratches.
Parking a van can be more challenging than parking a car, especially if you're used to driving something small like a hatchback. So, if you’re driving a van for the first time, we’d advise taking some time to practice parking in an empty parking lot or quiet street, before heading out into the road. As an added tip - consider using cones or other markers to practice parking in tight spaces.
Driving a van for the first time can be a daunting experience, but with these tips, you can become a safe and confident driver. Remember to take it slow, adjust your mirrors, give yourself extra space, be aware of blind spots and practice parking, and you'll be a pro at driving a van in no time.
Here at Intack Self Drive, all of our rental vehicles come with the option to rent through daily hire, or our outstanding Flexi hire service, so wherever your intended destination, we’ll have a vehicle that suits your requirements. Ready to get started? You can browse the best hire deals right here on our site, or give us a call on 01254 57811!