There are some differences when driving a van compared to driving a car, but it isn’t too complicated and is easy enough to pick up.
If you’re a first timer when it comes to van driving, here at SIXT we have a few hints and tips that can help you along your way. Once you’ve read through our advice, you’ll be ready to pick up a van from one of our branches all across the country, including in London, Bristol and Manchester.
When you are hiring a van with SIXT, be sure to allow for a decent amount of time to take care of everything you need. Obviously, there is the time needed to travel to the necessary location and hire the van, but also enough time for our staff to help you get used to your van.
When you hire a van from SIXT as a first-time van driver, ask our friendly staff for a quick test drive when you pick up your vehicle, and they’ll be happy to give you a quick demonstration. Once you’ve had your demonstration, find a quiet area nearby, such as a car park, and give yourself some time to have a test drive to get used to the feel of driving before you head out onto the roads.
Whenever you’re driving a van, and especially at first, be aware of the longer length of your vehicle when changing lanes and turning sharp corners. Also, be sure to observe all lane and route restrictions that apply to the size of your van. Always be sure to remember that there are blind spots, make sure you get used to these before you head out, and stay aware of them.
If you are used to driving a car, the most important thing to get used to, and stay constantly aware of, is the fact that the van you hire will probably be larger than the car you normally drive. As above, this is important to be aware of when changing lanes in terms of length, but there are also height and width differences. The height differences are important to be aware of when going under low cover such as an underpass. Width differences can become an issue on narrow roads, if you are new to van driving, try to avoid narrow roads where possible.
The braking distance of a van, due to the additional weight and size of the vehicle, can often be longer than that of a normal car. To accommodate for this distance, make sure you leave a safe distance between your van and the vehicle in front, so there will be no issue if you need to brake quickly for any reason.
However long you’ve been driving for, it is important to watch your speed when driving a van, especially if you are using a van for the first time. Always obey the speed limits on the road, and be sure to slow down considerably before bends, to accommodate for the larger size and heavier weight of your vehicle. Also, remember to use your external mirrors whenever turning.
Please take care when driving through bends and reduce your speed. With less visibility and a heavier load to balance it is imperative that you remain within the speed limits, if not slightly below.
Get Help with Parking
Parking a van can be difficult, especially if you are not used to the length and width of your vehicle. Instead of trying to find a way around this by yourself, try and have someone on hand who can assist you with parking. If you are using a friend to help you park, make sure you arrange hand signals in advance for everything you may need to know, such as when to reverse, when to stop, and when to turn.
At SIXT, we are always focused on being as good to the environment as possible, and there are a few different ways you can stay eco-conscious while driving a van. Always accelerate gently, which will decrease the necessity to brake frequently or too hard. Stay within the speed limits, and avoid distractions that may lead you to go faster than intended, and stay in third gear when driving over 30mph. Finally, try to turn the engine off whenever it is possible to do so, in traffic jams, or while waiting to collect someone or something, for example. All our vans are modern and in good as new condition, so will aid in saving fuel wherever possible depending on your driving style.
Whatever your transport needs, be sure to book with SIXT vans, offering great prices for top-quality heavy loading vehicles.