Whether it’s your first time driving a van or you have years of experience behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle there are always a few things you should keep in mind. We have put together a list of “Safe Van Driving Tips” to keep you safe on the road this new year. From planning your route to making sure you have the right insurance cover, these helpful tips could help prevent an accident and give you more confidence at the wheel. After all, we know that for most people the ability to drive their van is their livelihood and being off the road just isn’t an option! Find out more about road safety & safe driving.
Always Plan your Route
Before you set out on your trip make sure you plan your route. Even if you take the same trip every day it is important to keep up to date with local traffic reports and road closures. Driving a van can be more tiring than driving a car to allow a little extra time in case you need to take a rest break or stop for a snack. If you are planning a long journey have refreshments handy and make a note of service stations along the way. Try to avoid rush hour traffic where possible to make your trip as hassle-free as possible.
Always make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete your journey, especially in periods of darkness or in bad weather. The pressure that comes with being in a hurry can cause you to make poor decisions, lose concentration easily or travel too fast. Pay attention to speed limits and always keep in mind stopping distance, especially if you are carrying a heavy load. A good rule to follow is to allow a 2-second break between you and the vehicle traveling in front of you at all times and a 4-second break in any bad or wet weather.
Always Have a Safety check before taking any Journey
It is something that we tend to put off or only do a few times a year but it is vital to check your vehicle before every trip. Check your lights are in working order, check the thread depth of the tyres and make sure your mirrors are adjusted correctly. You’ll need to make sure your van has enough oil, fuel, and water for cleaning the windscreen too. It is also important to check the dashboard and make sure there are no warning lights on. If in doubt it is always a good idea to have the van checked by a professional.
Have Correct Driving Position Such as Seating & Mirror Adjustments
This is something we don’t usually put too much thought into but a good driving position can be the difference between long-term back problems or comfortable journeys. Make sure you adjust your seat so that you have proper back support and legroom. Ensure you don’t need to stretch in order to reach the steering wheel, gear stick or pedals. Is your seat at the right height or do you need to raise or lower it slightly to give yourself the best view of the road?
You will also need to adjust your mirrors to make sure you have an optional view and minimal blind spots.
Take Care with Heavy Loads
If you are transporting a heavy load in your van here are a few things to keep in mind;
- Make sure the load is evenly distributed. If not it could make handling the van difficult and unstable.
- Keep the load’s centre of gravity as low as you can and in the centre of the wheel-base in order to avoid it tipping or falling over while you’re driving.
- Make sure your tyre pressure is correct in order to transport the load safely.
- Ensure you have adequate help while loading and unloading the van and use safe manual handling advised by HSE techniques in order to avoid back injury.
Always have the correct Van Insurance Policy
The most important thing to keep in mind if you are driving a van or commercial vehicle is what type of insurance you have. Insuring a van is not the same as insuring a car and you will need to make sure you have the correct cover. It is important to ask yourself the following questions when taking out your cheap van insurance cover;
- Do you need open driving?
- Do you need to add a named driver?
- Do you need fully Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party cover?
- Do you require Windscreen cover?
- Do you need breakdown assistance?
- Do you carry any passengers?
- Does your van have a refrigeration unit?
- Does your van have signage?
- Will you be driving outside the EU?
- What sort of goods will you be carrying?
- Do you need No Claims Bonus Protection?
It can all seem very daunting. Don’t worry, Quote Devil are here to help. Give one of our Van Insurance Team members a call today and let us help find the right policy for you!