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Tips On Driving a New Van As A Courier

Thursday, 28 January 2021 at 13:09

Driving a van is pretty much similar to driving a car in many ways, but if you’re a new van driver, the thought of using a vehicle that’s bigger than you’re used to could be a quite scary prospect.

Don’t worry though, these days, most vans come loaded with all of the safety features and technical bits and pieces you’d expect to get if you were buying a new car.

Familiarise Yourself With The Van & It's Features

Ensure you’re familiar with all of your vehicle’s essential features are before you set off anywhere.

You should spend plenty of time getting to know where all the safety features and technical controls are before setting off. A huge difference is that you don’t have a rearview mirror, so learning to use the door mirrors is going to be essential, but quite easy after a bit of practice.

Familiarise yourself with features such as the sat-nav, radio, lights, and windscreen wipers so you can concentrate fully on the road and what’s going on around you, rather than fumbling for controls.

Comfort Whilst Driving

If you’re going to be driving for long periods of time, you need to be comfortable, as this will make a massive difference to your concentration levels.

Also, you need to ensure you can see clearly through your door mirrors and the windscreen. You may need a few practice runs to make any adjustments to suit you.

Restrictions & Limits

Whether you’re going to be using the new van for your job or as a one-off you need to know your vehicles relevant specifications, such as its length and height as you’re going to need to manoeuvre it in spaces which are going to be much tighter than they were if you were driving a car

The van is going to be much heavier to drive, especially if loaded so you’re going to need to be aware that you’ll need to increase your braking distances.

Did you know that the national speed limit on dual carriageways & single carriageways is actually 10 mph slower for most vans?

Loading The Vehicle

When transporting different types of cargo, such as parcels, pallets, and heavy items you’ll need to carefully consider how they should be loaded safely, unlike a document or letter, they can't just sit o the passenger seat next to you.

If you’re going to be carrying several different customer deliveries you should make sure the items for any earlier delivery are within easy reach. it makes sense to load the parcels for later deliveries further back. This will become far easier to work out with the more experience you gain as a courier.

Large or heavy items should ideally be loaded on the deck of the load space of the van, with your small parcels on top. Obviously, if you have loose parcels, these could move between the collection and delivery point, so it would be wise to invest in some ratchet straps to secure your cargo, these can be found on Amazon or eBay. Also, buy yourself some large removal blankets, as these will be really useful to use as protection for any high value or fragile items you may be asked to deliver. And remember, the more weight you carry, the greater the time to stop will be, so again be aware of your braking distance!

Insurance Cover

Various insurances will be required whether you’re going to be using the van for work, business, or pleasure.

You’re obviously going to have to insure the vehicle whatever it's use is, but if the van is going to be used as a courier vehicle, making collection and delivery of various items day in, day out you will also require, Goods In Transit Insurance (GIT) in case of any accidents or mishaps that may occur. Also public liability insurance. These are all costly, but completely necessary for the job as a delivery driver.

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