Top tips for those new to driving a van

Driving any van is a completely different experience to driving a car. If you’ve got a new van, whether it’s a replacement or your first, there are a few things you should think about before you start driving it.

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Get to know your van

The driving position in a van is probably the first thing that you will notice is different to a car. You’re much higher up and won’t always have a rear-view mirror so you will have to learn to rely on just wing mirrors.

Find out where all the controls are and what they do, having to glance down briefly to find the rear demister button is time when your eyes aren’t on the road and could result in a near miss, or worse, an accident.

Have a go at parking the van somewhere quiet so that you can get a feel for the dimensions before you have to do it for real in a busy car park. The type of van you have, for example, standard or long wheelbase, might dictate where you can and can’t park. Also, make sure you know the height of your van as there are plenty of very low bridges about that you could clip if you misjudge it by a few centimetres.

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If you’re carrying heavy loads get used to packing the van correctly. Any loose items shifting round in the back can destabilise the van while you’re driving it.

Any new vehicle can be a magnet for thieves and there are plenty of good locks for vans on the market such as those supplied by

Legal requirements

There are also a couple of things you should remember to keep you within the law when driving your van. Firstly, and particularly if you’re new to van driving, remember that the speed limits for vans are different to cars. Secondly, if you’re carrying hazardous materials, make sure you have the correct signage to indicate this. The Government’s website has plenty of information that will help to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Finally, be a courteous driver. Van drivers have acquired a reputation for being bullish drivers but it’s likely that you have spent more time on the roads than most and have far more experience than the average driver, so why not show it?

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