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Anyone who has driven a van. How different is it to a car? Watch

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    Hello folks,

    I was offered a job opportunity recently, as a runner on a film shoot.
    However, it required me first to go and pickup a van from out of London and take it back to the location, in London.

    Despite my initial optimism, I later let him know that it probably was a safety risk for me and other road users. My question is:

    Just how different is driving a van to driving a car?

    For a bit of background, I passed my driving test only recently (late April) and haven't been driving since.
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    What sort of van is it? Like a transit? Or a glorified estate car van?
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    As above, if it's just a glorified estate car van, then not really that different from driving a car. If a transit van, obviously be aware of the increased size of your vehicle, not only does this affect how you tackle corners etc but also your spatial awareness. If in general you are a competant driver and careful, you should be fine.

    If you're 21 or you've had a licence for 2 years, why not check out street car, you can hire a vw van i believe, for quite a reasonable price, why not practice on that?
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    I drove a Transit for a couple of days. Incredibly fun things to drive! The lack of rear windows/windscreen is weird at first, but you soon learn to reverse using just the giant wing mirrors. Didn't like the fact there was no rear view mirror. Not very hard to adapt to the size of them (that said, I'm already used to driving large cars).
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    Not much different to driving a car to be honest.
    I've driven all sorts of things over the years.

    You'll find if you're driving a long wheel base van you may have to turn into the corner *slightly* later so you don't get the rear wheels on the kerb and, like Sync says, the lack of a rear view mirror can sometimes make things a little difficult.
    If you have to reverse, what I find helpful is to go back in a very slight, almost unnoticable zig zag so that you can see what's behind the van using either of the side mirrors.

    I will say though, that once you get back into your daily driver after driving round all day in a Van it'll feel VERY small to you.
    I worked as a Van driver for a library for a few months. After a day of shipping books around in a luton bodied transit, getting back into my Volvo 850 (which isn't exactly a small car) felt like I was climbing into a mini!

    -JC.
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    There's a hell of a lot of difference between driving an Astravan down the motorway and negotiating a Transit Luton through central London.
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    Exactly the same, except you can't see out the back
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    you get to take off your top and oogle women.
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    (Original post by Frannnnn)
    you get to take off your top and oogle women.
    I don't remember doing that...

    I do remember buggering about trying to confuse the traction controll, though! :cool: :eek:
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    Pretty much the same tbh, longer wheelbase is the obvious difference. But visibility tends to be pretty good since you're sitting up high.
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    Transit type van was what I was talking about.
    Thanks for the replies, very helpful as usual.
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    didnt feel too different from driving my sister's megane scenic. Kind of weird being so high up off the ground when I'd gotten use to my cheeks rubbing on the cats eyes :laugh:
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    If you only have a car licence, you're limited to driving vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. You had better check the van's weight before you drive it, otherwise you'll be committing an offence. The relevant weight is the maximum laden weight.

    Remember also that the national speed limits are different for goods vehicles (unless it's one of those car derived vans built on the same chassis of the car variant and up to 2 tonnes). 50 on single carriageways, 60 on dual carriageways, but motorways are 70 as usual.
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    Advisor - I beleive Vans are limited to 3.5 Tonnes anyway, like your licence, larger than that and its an LGV.

    In general - Driven a SWB transit a couple of times and it felt no different to my Landie, in fact it felt more Car-like! If your driving a LWB just get used to turning a bit later. If you have even half decent spatial awareness you'll soon get used to it.

    As to you having only just passed your test - you have to start driving somewhere! I started originally with a tractor and 30 ft of trailer behind me. Admittedly in a field, but it took some getting used to at first. Just get familiar with it when you pick the van up, work out where the controls are etc and start out steady. Don't go flying around like you would in a car you know and get a feel for it. Once your used to it, you'll wonder what the fuss was about.
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    (Original post by Minardi)
    Advisor - I beleive Vans are limited to 3.5 Tonnes anyway, like your licence, larger than that and its an LGV.
    Depends on your definition of "van". The law only refers to "goods vehicles with a maximum laden weight of ..." and "maximum authorised mass". The DVLA refer to "medium" and "large" vehicles, where "medium" is between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes and "large" is over 7.5 tonnes. There is no legal definition of "van".

    The point is, the threadstarter's employers may be giving instructions to pick up this "van" only for the poor bloke to discover it may be a goods vehicle weighing over 3.5 tonnes once it's packed to the rafters with equipment. Ok, it may not, but it pays to check these things rather than trust somebody's poorly chosen definition.
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    Haven't driven one myself but was with a few people who were driving one for the first time the other week. One point is to remember how long and wide it is, particularly when maneuvouring. It's damn easy to turn too soon when negotiating a tight gap (eg. on the way out of a petrol station) and scrape the side on a fixed object or another vehicle. As one of my friends found out.

    Another thing which nobody's mentioned yet is how differently they handle when empty and when fully laden. You can drive it empty and be quite confident that you've got the hang of the stopping distances, yet once it's been packed it's totally different as there's so much more momentum that needs to be taken account of.
 
 
 
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