September 03, 2015 at 3:41 PM
The roads we drive on today are often twisty and windy, with changes in terrain and sharp bends. We all drive our vans at speeds approaching the national speed limits, which seem pretty fast when you have a van laden with contents.
For drivers of used vans in Swindon, the network of motorways and urban roads presents constant challenges for a variety of reasons, including bad weather conditions and heavy traffic.
Most van owners use their vans for work. Whilst the government publishes guidance for load securing for commercial vehicles, this is directed at open-sided goods vehicles and transporters, rather than the closed loads in a van. There is however, a general best practise guide for van safety, published by the UK government.
What you don't want is your valuable tools and bits and pieces at risk of sliding around in the back of your van, as you drive. This is not only distracting to your driving, but also dangerous if you have to break sharply and the contents shift or bounce around. With the state of some of our roads and the hazards created by other road users, risks can be compounded.
There are some basic tips and solutions to stop contents moving around in the back of your van. These include partitioning systems, racking, tethering, netting and sheets and also anchor points.
Thankfully, you don't need to completely remodel the inside of your van to secure your contents. Although many van owners retro-fit custom shelving, a few simple steps for securing your contents can be the solution you're looking for.
If your van doesn't already have a floor lining, consider lining the floor with 3/4" plywood. This makes a good base for non-slip solutions to go on. You can buy heavy rubber mats that can be extended across the floor of your van. There's also a wide selection of rug pads in a grid-work design, typically used to go underneath home rugs to stop them sliding around on the floor. A word of caution though, because the mat stops sliding, you'll need to lift in larger objects, whereas you may have previously been able to slide them across the floor.
Another useful tip is to cover contents with a sheet, or even with netting or tarpaulin before you tethering the load. The best tethering to secure your van contents are in the form of straps, ropes, cables or chains, anchored to secure points in the van. Contrary to what you might think, bungee cords are not recommended as they can stretch under force of impact and your load can move or even break free.
Furthermore, contents should be tethered to the vehicle in the direction of travel rather than perpendicular to travel. This will provide extra restraint if the contents are jolted, rather than relying on friction to stop things from moving. Checking your restraints and tethering periodically is important to ensure they have not weakened or become damaged or frayed.
If you follow these tips, your van loads and your journeys will be safer, healthier and happier.