Getting behind the wheel of a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) for the first time can be a daunting prospect, as most are considerably different to driving your standard car, here are some tips to help make your journey more comfortable and safe.
The ability to drive a 3.5 tonne vehicle on a standard car driving license, it’s possible that one day you may be behind the wheel of an LCV with no specialist training required.
LeaseVan.co.uk have come out and stated that these drivers could use some extra advice when moving on to a van, as the challenges that come with handling a larger vehicle can be dangerous to other road users as well as yourself.
The main troubles that first time drivers of an LCV come across are the lack of rear visibility out the rear windows as sometimes vans may not even have rear windows fitted and manoeuvring a vehicle with extra weight and size can be tricky to judge, especially reversing and going round corners.
A spokesperson from LeaseVan.co.uk said: “People often think because they’ve had years behind the wheel of a car that they will get to grips with van driving straight away, but they have come to rely on having the rear-view window and good visibility, and without it, it’s a whole different deal.
“We’ve come up with simple advice to get first time van drivers off to a safe start, which will hopefully make for a better experience.”
The top ten tips are as follows:
- Check tyre pressure. This is important especially with a heavy, large load to carry. Check before setting off, and also at regular intervals during a long journey.
- Once behind the wheel take a minute to take in your surroundings and adjust the seat to ensure that the controls are ideally positioned. With no rear-view window, it’s important to ensure that the large wing mirrors are adjusted so that the road behind can be seen as much as possible.
- Familiarise yourself with functions such as headlights and windscreen wipers so you know where these are when needed.
- Know the dimensions of the vehicle. This will help when parking, both when entering multi-storey car parks with height restrictions and when checking if a space is large enough. A wide berth should be left between the van and surrounding vehicles to ensure that doors can be opened without causing damage.
- When parking, make sure the area the van is reversing into is clear, if possible have someone standing outside the vehicle to guide you, otherwise move slowly while checking your mirrors.
- Know your route before leaving, and stay away from treacherous paths and low bridges.
- Be aware of the speed limits for vans: 30mp for built-up areas, 50mph for single carriageways, 60mph for dual carriageways, 70mph for motorways.
- Use caution when overtaking, which is more dangerous in a van due to reduced visibility. Make sure you have a good view from the side mirrors before going ahead.
- Tie heavy loads down to avoid damage, and to keep occupants safe in the event of a sudden stop or collision.
- Be courteous to other road users, let people join on motorways and don’t pull out in front of others.
The LeaseVan.co.uk spokesperson added: “Another important thing to remember if the van contains goods is to lock the doors and try and leave any valuable items out of sight, especially trade plates if they are attached to your vehicle.