New van drivers warned to be aware of LCV-specific laws before taking to the road
Drivers who are new to the world of vans are being advised to be aware of some critical road safety rules after a surge in the number of commercial vehicle users on the UK’s roads, with the average fine for van drivers committing offences averaging almost £1000.
Insurance comparison site Quotezone has put together a list of eight safety critical issues that new van drivers may not be aware of.
With more than four million vans registered in the UK, regulatory roadside stops of vans are becoming more common. The company warns that beginner van drivers need to be aware of this before heading out on the roads to avoid being hit with large fines.
The average fine per offence for van drivers is £972, which makes it crucial to be aware of the rules and regulations, with the majority of fines issues for speeding or overloading offences.
Greg Wilson, Founder of the van insurance comparison site, said: "There’s been a surge in new van drivers in recent years as people take on additional work – many of whom may not realise the extent at which the rules of the road change for van drivers.
"Vans need extra precautions because they are larger and heavier than most cars, making them more susceptible to accidents. It's important to understand that driving a van, whether private or commercial, has a lot of safety elements to consider and differs a great deal from driving a car."
The eight key elements Quotezone highlights are:
Speed limits: Vans are subject to lower speed limits than cars on certain roads. On dual and single carriageways the speed limit for vans is 10mph less than the maximum for cars. Speeding can result in fines ranging from £100 to £2,500 and three to six penalty points.
Secure goods: It’s important to load your van securely, especially if you’re carrying heavy goods. Unsecured cargo can move around in your van and cause it to roll or shift forward when braking. Make sure to distribute the load evenly and use straps to keep the goods in place.
Weight limits: Exceeding the manufacturer’s load limit can put a serious strain on the vehicle, affecting its performance and safety. The weight limit can be found on the van identification number (VIN) plate. Exceeding the limit can result in a £300 fine and may invalidate insurance cover.
Extra stopping distance: Because of their size and weight, vans take longer to come to a complete stop. That’s why it’s important to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles to ensure sufficient reaction and braking time.
Regular breaks: To prevent fatigue, it’s important to take regular breaks on long journeys. Rule 91 from the Highway Code says drivers should take a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving. If you’re using the van for work, then the legal limit for the time spent behind the wheel in a single day is ten hours.
Height restrictions: Be mindful of height restrictions when driving vans - whether navigating tunnels, underpasses, bridges or parking structures with height limitations, it's crucial to factor in these restrictions to ensure a smooth and safe journey.
Correct insurance: If you’re driving the van for hire or commercial purposes then you have to make sure you’re insured for business use. You’ll also want to make sure your insurance policy covers any goods, tools or equipment in your van. Having the correct insurance policy provides financial protection against accidents and theft.
Modifications can invalidate insurance: Check the list of modifications for any alterations to your van as even branding on the exterior can be classified as a modification – failure to update your insurance provider could see your insurance policy rendered invalid.