Driving a van for the first time


Essential tips and tricks to remember

Driving a van for the first time can be both exciting and challenging. And possibly nerve-wracking! Whether you’re moving house, going on a road trip, or simply need a vehicle with more storage capacity, hiring a van provides flexibility and convenience. However, before hitting the road, it’s crucial to familiarise yourself with some important rules and guidelines to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey.

In this article, we provide essential tips and tricks for drivers who may be hiring a van for the first time. But even experienced car drivers will notice big differences so it’s worth a read however long you’ve been on the roads:

Age limits and licence requirements

In the UK the minimum age for driving a van typically falls between 21 and 25, depending on the rental company. Here at Edmonton Van Hire we only hire to drivers at the upper end of this bracket and will require ID prove you’re at least 25 years old. Additionally, you must hold a valid full UK driving licence, which allows you to drive vehicles up to a certain weight limit.

Plan ahead and choose the right van

Consider your specific needs. Determine the size, payload capacity, and any additional features you may require. Planning will help you select the right van for your purposes, ensuring a comfortable and efficient driving experience.

Familiarise yourself with the van’s dimensions

Stating the obvious but vans are larger and taller than regular cars, so it’s important to be aware of the vehicle’s dimensions. Take note of its height, width, and length, especially if you’ll be driving through narrow roads, under low bridges, or into car parks with height restrictions. Allow extra space when manoeuvring to avoid scraping against obstacles or causing damage.

Practice your moves

Due to their larger size, vans can be trickier to manoeuvre and park compared to smaller vehicles. Practice in a spacious area, such as an empty carpark, to get comfortable with the van’s turning radius and blind spots. Take your time when parking, using your mirrors effectively and asking for assistance if any is available.

Adjust mirrors and check blind spots

Before setting off, ensure that all mirrors are correctly adjusted to provide the best possible visibility. Vans have larger blind spots, so make it a habit to regularly check them by turning your head to avoid missing any vehicles or cyclists.

Corner with caution

When navigating corners and turns, remember that vans have a wider turning radius than cars. Approach them at a slower speed, giving yourself enough room to complete the manoeuvre safely without hitting curbs, parked cars, or pedestrians.

Load safely and securely

If you’re transporting valuable items, ensure they are loaded securely and distributed evenly to maintain stability during the journey. Use straps or cargo nets to prevent items from shifting while driving, reducing the risk of accidents or damage.

Drive smoothly and maintain a safe distance

Drive smoothly, avoiding sudden acceleration or braking. Vans generally have a higher centre of gravity, making them more prone to swaying. Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you, allowing ample time to react to any sudden changes in traffic.

Plan your route

Ensure you are aware of Congestion Charging and Low Emission Zones. Before starting your journey, plan your route and check for any low emission zones or restricted areas that may not permit certain types of vans. Stay updated with the latest regulations and adhere to them to avoid penalties.

Driving a van for the first time requires some additional considerations compared to driving a regular car. By following these tips you’ll be well-prepared to navigate London’s roads safely and confidently. Remember to plan, choose the right van, and practice manoeuvring before embarking on your journey. It is the driver’s responsibility to pay any charges and fines, but hopefully you won’t incur any of these and will have a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

We look forward to welcoming you to Edmonton Van Hire soon, please check our website before collecting a vehicle to check what ID and documents to bring to speed up the paperwork processing. Happy driving!