This is part two of our blog mini series on owning and running a van. Our last blog dealt with buying a used van for business use, whether you are a sole tradesman or a small business. If you missed it you can read it here.
Now that you have a van, whether it is new or used, you will need to get it fully insured and road legal. Insuremyvan.ie are Ireland’s first online van & commercial vehicle insurance specialists. If you’ve got a van, we’re your man! We can get you insured and on the road in just one call.
Now that you have van insurance you can get down to business and get out on the road. What a lot of people who are new to van driving do not think about is what it is like to drive a van and not a car.
Driving a van can be a relatively easy experience if you’re an experienced car driver. However, even though a lot of the skills learnt on the road over the years can be simply translated to a bigger vehicle, driving a van is still a very different experience.
At Insuremyvan.ie we have talked to some van drivers and have pulled together some points that will hopefully help you with some of the issues you may come across while driving a van on the road.
The very first and most obvious thing you notice when you step into a van is that the driving position is higher than you will have experienced in a car. You are also sitting much closer to the front of the vehicle and some vans don’t have a rear view mirror so you will need to make that adjustment keeping in mind the reduced visibility.
Driving a longer, wider vehicle comes with increased responsibilities. Statistics show that the majority of commercial vehicle accidents take place due to drivers not allowing for the extra width of the van. In a lot of cases manoeuvrability is also likely to suffer in a van in comparison to driving a car which needs to be addressed. One thing to remember is to always be vigilant and conscious of the safety of other drivers on the road.
Another thing to take into account is the speed and weight of the van. With the increased weight of a van it is vital to always decrease your speed when approaching a bend in a road, as rounding a corner too quickly could result in the van toppling or running wide and causing an accident. Likewise were your vehicle to tilt, any delicate goods your van is carrying could get damaged. Heed this advice seriously as otherwise you could find yourself in an accident, having to make a van insurance claim on the insurance you just got from Insuremyvan.ie.
In order to minimize the chances of an accident there are a number of steps you can take prior to setting off on your journey to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle.
For new drivers especially it’s pivotal to become fully accustomed with the size and manoeuvrability of your vehicle. Vans will require a significantly longer breaking distance than cars so it is best to maintain your distance whenever possible. When driving in poor weather conditions and the road is slippery this is even more important. Similarly changing lanes in a van can be tricky with the reduced visibility so it’s worthwhile taking extra caution. Take a short drive along some quieter roads without too many pedestrians until you are fully comfortable with the van and confident enough to embark on longer drives and busier areas.
Routine maintenance is so important to good driving conditions and tyre condition must be considered a priority with regards to road safety so ensure your van tyre width and tread are maintained above the minimum levels. Likewise, under the bonnet check that both your oil and water levels are topped up as incorrect levels could cause overheating and serious damage to your vehicle’s engine. Our sister company, Coverinaclick.ie, recently posted a blog about the basics of car maintenance. A lot of the same principles apply to vans.
Unsecure cargo doors could not only lose you valuable possessions, but also potentially spill the contents of your van onto the roads or cause damage to a pedestrian, were they to swing open at an inopportune moment. Check that all doors of your vehicle are closed properly before you set off.
Confident drivers are typically better drivers and it is important for any driver to be safe in the knowledge that they could respond to the conditions, environment and situation around them. As visibility is limited and restricted in vans, with blind spots in nearly every vehicle, adjust your mirrors so that you have the maximum visibility that the vehicle allows.
As reversing and parking is typically more challenging in a van, just giving that little extra thought and attention to visibility can make your overall experience all the more stress-free.
Van Racking & Accessories
If you work with tools and equipment, van racking and accessories are really essential. If your tools and equipment aren’t stored safely and securely you are risking injury during transit especially in the event of any accident.
We hope that this quick guide will help get you on the road and more confident in your van driving abilities. Just make sure that your van is road legal and you are fully covered with the correct van insurance before you set off. As mentioned above, Insuremyvan.ie are Ireland’s first online van & commercial vehicle insurance specialists. If you’ve got a van, we’re your man! We can get you insured and on the road in just one call.
Call our specialist van insurance team now on 01 660 6900 to get a great quote. You can also fill out our quick van insurance quote form with all your details and one of the team will work to get you the best quote possible.