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Driving Advice For Those Hiring A Van

Aug 7, 2008
Van hire services are vital for many people; workmen who are experiencing problems with their vehicles may choose to hire a van while those planning a self move also choose the rental option. For those who are driving a van for the first time however can be daunted, especially if the vehicle in question is large and unwieldy. Ultimately driving most vans is not like driving a regular car, there are differences in handling and gear selection, especially if the vehicle in question is heavily loaded. The following article attempts to make the experience a little easier by giving tips on the best way to drive a van safely.

When you are at the van hire depot it is important to listen intently when the representative is giving advice. At this stage they will be able to give you general information on how to operate the vehicle and also give instruction on the controls in the vehicle.

While many people tend to drive in sandals or even high heels, ensuring you have suitable footwear to drive the van is essential. The clutch of some vans can be relatively heavy and naturally the pedal controls will be different from those in your car. Normally a pair of regular trainers will be suitable.

Many vans will not have a rear view mirror as the rear of the vehicle obstructs the view. As a result understanding how to use your wing mirrors more effectively is essential. It is also important to adjust these mirrors properly so that you have as much visible exterior information as possible.

In terms of the interior it is vital that you adjust the seat and headrest so you have the best driving position and will be safe in the event of an accident. Additionally as with most vehicles you should always wear a seatbelt to ensure you are safe should the worst happen.

Before heading off it is essential to ensure all of the doors are locked securely. The last thing you want is to be driving along and lose half the load as you hit a bump. It is also advisable to test drive the van around the car park to ensure you are fully aware of the responsiveness of the steering and acceleration. When first driving the van it is also a good idea to take it slow initially until you are confident with the van's handling and performance.

Once you are driving it is important to realise that being in control of the vehicle at all times is vital. If you are going too fast you will not have control and subsequently will not be able to stop in an emergency.

Always try to remember the size of the van, especially if the height of the vehicle is considerable. This is particularly important when you head under low bridges or overhanging trees. Larger vehicles have a poorer turning circle that small cars and hence taking more care with cornering and parking is essential. Try to keep your speed low when driving around tight bends as tall vans tend to have a higher centre of gravity and are inherently more unstable. Vans also have more blind spots so when changing lanes or making turns care is always a prerequisite.

Hopefully this advice will lead to the safe hire and usage of a van, by remembering that it is a larger vehicle and will perform in different ways to a car is essential at all times. If you keep your speed low and take care however you should be able to undertake the experience safely.
About the Author
Motoring expert Thomas Pretty looks into the considerations that must be made when utilising van hire services, predominantly focusing on driving advice.
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