Truck Rental at How to drive a van
People often think that driving a van is a tall order. It’s a common misconception that puts a lot of people off taking the wheel.
The truth is that modern vans are just as easy to drive as most cars. You’ll have power steering and electric windows and mirrors at your fingertips, a gearstick where you expect it to be, and a familiar dashboard layout as well as a responsive, strong-as-an-ox diesel engine. And if you rent a panel van like a Ford Transit (or something even bigger) then your lofted driving position will give you a kings’ view of the road.
Once you’re in the driving seat, it’s quite easy to forget you’re driving a van. Try to remember though, that no matter how easy it is to drive; the van is wider, taller and heavier than most cars (especially when fully loaded). Use some good judgement on the road and you’ll have a fantastic experience. Here are some general guidelines to help.
Use less speed. The vans weight means it will take longer to come to a stop.
Take it easier around corners and roundabouts. You don’t want to topple over on the road.
Adjust your mirrors. Some vans don’t have a rear-view mirror, or it might be blocked when the van is loaded. Keep a closer eye on your wing mirrors to see what’s going on around you.
We are here to help you every step of the way. Here are some more tips you’ll find useful.
- When picking up the van
- You should be shown around the van to inspect it for damage (exterior and interior). This is standard procedure for any rental agency. If they don’t offer, ask.
- Feel free to ask questions if you are unfamiliar with any features (such as the tail-lift on a Luton van, or the refuelling procedure).
- Adjust your wing mirrors before you set off. Make sure you can see around the van.
- You should understand your insurance coverage and the excess value.
- Fuel costs should also be agreed in advance. Some providers offer different packages for fuel, with the most costly option returning the van for refuelling at the depot.
- When driving
- Be aware of the road and other motorists (especially motorbikes). Always check your wing mirrors before changing position.
- Keep more space between the van and any vehicle in front of you. Don’t drive as fast as you normally might in a car.
- Plan your stops and cornering a little more in advance (especially when you are fully loaded).
- Double check before driving into areas with width or height restrictions, such as a parking garage, a narrow alley or a bridge. Many hire companies label the dashboard with the van’s height so refer to this if in any doubt.
- Speed limits are usually lower for vans than for other vehicles:
- Single Carriageway: 50mph
- Dual Carriageway: 60mph
- Motorway: 70mph
- Most vans need diesel fuel, so make sure this is what you use. Confusing the engine with regular petrol can be a costly mistake!
- Try to make sure you do not run out of fuel. Restarting a diesel van that has run out can be a lot more hassle than a petrol engine.
- The filler cap is usually on the front half of the van, unlike other motor vehicles.
- Mirrors are your best friend. The bigger the van, the bigger the blind spot. Use them constantly, especially when manoeuvring into tight spaces.
- If you have a passenger with you, allow them to get out and guide you into position. If not, a passer-by might be willing to help.
- Your turning circle will likely be wider than you are used to.
- Take your time and don’t be afraid of giving an extra inch if you are unsure.