May 17, 2017 at 12:26 PM
A fully laden van or truck is a force to be reckoned with. Other motorists never quite understand that a goods vehicle takes time to accelerate, and even more importantly to stop in a short distance.
But since the habits of other motorists never seem to change, here are some advanced driving tips for goods drivers, to help you drive safely and keep moving.
As a van or truck driver, you know you have to be on the ball at all times. One of the first rules of advanced driving is to expect the unexpected because drivers do surprising things! Plan ahead when approaching junctions, easing off the accelerator and covering your brake in case someone pulls out in front of you. Expect cars to pull into gaps ahead of you approaching roundabouts, and extend your braking distance accordingly.
Avoid braking unnecessarily or harshly because it takes time to build up speed again. Using your throttle more than your brake and judging the appropriate speed in advance of bends or roundabouts will keep you driving progressively. If you can master this, you'll save a packet on fuel through not losing speed.
Positioning your vehicle to the outside of a corner will reduce G-force and enable you to travel round the bend more quickly and smoothly, without throwing your load around. You'll also get a better view round. So for a right-hand bend, stay to the left as far as possible, and for a left-hand bend get nearer to the centre line without compromising oncoming traffic. Steering smoothly will avoid destabilising the vehicle in the bend.
Advanced driving organisations and emergency services use the "System Of Car Control", applying a set process to tackling hazards. It's called IPSGA - Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Accelerate. It needs training and time to learn it all, but briefly, it involves doing one thing at a time. Assess the hazard (bend, roundabout, junction, etc.), get in the right position, reduce your speed, get the right gear then accelerate when appropriate. Doing too many things at once reduces your progress. It can't be covered properly in a blog but is well worth reading more about.
Keeping your van in tip-top condition will keep you safe on the road. Regularly check lights, fluid levels, suspension, brakes and tyre depths and pressures. If any of these aren't right, your vehicle could be dangerous, more difficult to drive, and potentially illegal. The risks are amplified when you've got a full load on board, due to the extra weight.
Advanced drivers are proven to be safer on the roads. Consider some advanced driving training from an organisation such as the Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM) or the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), to learn some of the above skills in more detail. Advanced driving brings greater safety, better fuel economy, and often cheaper insurance.
Tags: Driving Tips
Category: The "Expert Advice"