Safe Van Driving – Your Top Tips
Preparing to drive your van.
1. Get to know your vehicle, its length and height, so that you can perform reversing and turning manoeuvres and navigate bridges or height-restricted entries to garages, car parks etc safely.
2. Keep to your van’s weight limit. When loading, lift safely and make sure that the weight is distributed evenly, and before setting off close the doors firmly and lock them.
3. Check the van is a vehicle covered by your driving license. It should have a current MOT certificate, in-date road tax and you should be insured to drive it. Comprehensive breakdown cover is also a good idea.
4. Before each journey check oil, tyres, lights, fuel, and wing mirror position, and don’t forget to test your windscreen wipers and top-up the fluid reservoir.
5. Prepare for an emergency; carry a high-visibility jacket, torch, first-aid kit and blanket. Your spare wheel should always have sufficient tread and be ready to fit in the van should the need arise.
6. Plan your route, motorways are the quickest and safest way to get from A to B. If possible avoid rush hour traffic and school run time. Give yourself plenty of time for your journey plus extra to compensate for any contingencies you experience. Never rush, rushing is stressful and stress erodes good judgement. Always keep to the speed limit and if you are not good at navigating invest in a reliable Sat Nav. Never use a mobile phone whilst on the road, its illegal.
7. Sit properly, don’t slouch or sit in a contorted position. Make sure head restraints are comfortable for you, your back is supported and feet can reach the pedals, and don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt. Check you have a good view of the road from both the rearview mirror and the wing mirrors and be aware of any blind spots.
8. If you start to feel drowsy during your journey pull over and take a rest as soon as possible. Until you are able to do so, get cold air circulating in your cabin by opening a window or putting the cold blower on.
9. If an accident should occur, switch your engine off, immobilize your van, check on the welfare of others involved and when necessary call the emergency services. Never flee the scene of an accident, always be ready to exchange your insurance details or present your documents to the police.