Being able to drive a larger vehicle can be enormously convenient. You might be starting a small business, which requires moving lots of equipment and materials from one job to another. You might be a member of a touring band, for whom the ability to transport instruments and people would be a godsend.
Whatever your motivation, you might be thinking about the legalities. Can you drive your van of choice without having to take an additional driving test? The answer is yes – provided it’s less than 3.5 tonnes. If you need to drive something larger, then your standard ‘B’ driving license is going to be insufficient. You’ll need to make the upgrade to a ‘C’ licence, which will take you all the way up to 7.5 tonnes. Fortunately, adding new categories to your license is fairly straightforward – and if you passed your test before 1997, you might find that you’re already covered.
One thing to think about is age. Many renters will refuse outright to let young people drive their vehicles, citing (perhaps understandably) the higher statistical risk involved in letting to drivers of this age.
What About Down-Plating?
The maximum weight of your vehicle is what’s known as the ‘plated weight’. It’s this figure that’s written on the plate. If you don’t intend to load the vehicle to its maximum weight, then you can get this number shifted downward – but bear in mind you’ll be breaking the law by overburdening it from that point onward.
What Should You Consider When Driving a Larger Vehicle?
If you’re not used to driving a larger vehicle, then the experience might be disorienting. Let’s run through a few tips that will help to make the experience a little more manageable.
Know Your Fuel
If you’re not used to fuelling a van with diesel, then be sure that you’re paying close attention whenever you head into the refilling station. Many drivers might have spent decades reaching for the green pump, perhaps every day, and habits like this are difficult to break.
Get an Insurance Policy
If you’re renting a van, then it’ll be insured as standard. Investigate exactly how much you’re covered for, and consider opting for additional insurance if you want peace of mind. Whatever you decide upon, it’s a good thing to know how much you’re going to be paying in excess in the event of an accident.
Do I need to Drive a Van?
If you’re not used to driving a van, then doing so might not be worth the hassle of going through that initial adjustment period. For example, if you’re moving from one property to another, then you might consider instead hiring out a man and van service. That way, you can be sure that all of your possessions are in the capable hands of someone with years of experience driving vans.