Some people take to driving vans as well as they drive cars, while others find the mere prospect to be frightening. In truth, while there are some obvious differences to driving a van when compared to driving the family hatchback, the experience isn’t that dissimilar. The size of the vehicle is the primary difference, especially because the majority of modern vans include the same power steering and braking features as modern cars.
Get used to blind spots, only hire the size of van that you actually need, and take your time to allow more length, width, and height when taking corners, parking, and driving, and you should find that the experience is not as bad as you might imagine. In fact, many people enjoy the extra size of the van, and even feel empowered from the additional driver height. You might find that you quite enjoy it, although a van is unlikely to make the best vehicle for a daily commute or to drop the kids off at school.
There are different speed limits on some types of road for vans compared to cars. You are still entitled to drive at 70mph on the motorway, but are restricted to 60mph on dual carriageways, 50mph on single carriageways, and are still bound by the same 20mph or 30mph that exist on urban roads. The police do enforce these speed limits, and they are set for a reason, so you should ensure that you are careful to abide by them whenever you are behind the wheel.
Vans are taller than cars, and while smaller vans should not struggle even with indoor car park height restrictions, you should ensure that this is the case before you try wedging you rental van through an entrance that is not tall enough for your vehicle. Check with the rental company, look in the vehicle manual, or see if there is a sticker on the dashboard that tells you the height of your vehicle, and then always keep an eye out for signs warning of restricted heights.
If you are renting a large van, like a Luton or a panel van, then you should also take into account width restrictions, especially if you are in built up areas or on country roads where roads are narrowed. 6.6” restrictions will not be passable in a Luton van, and some panel vans will also struggle. It can be a good idea to write the height and width down and keep these details in the front with you if they are not already written down for you.
The lack of a rear window in most models means that many vans do not have a central rear mirror. While it is always important to ensure that your wing mirrors are properly adjusted before you set off, it is especially important when you don’t have a central rear mirror and while van mirrors are much larger than those on a car, you will need to rely on them a lot more, even when cornering and much more often when pulling in. Check them, double check them, and then make sure that you checked them properly.
Nationwide Hire UK has a fleet of modern and high quality vans, ranging from those of a similar size to an MPV up to Luton removal vans, that can be driven on most standard driving licences and can be hired for a period of a day to several weeks.