When it comes to driving, a van and a car are two completely different animals. Because of this, when you first start working courier jobs, you should treat the experience with a beginner’s level of caution, even if you’ve been operating automobiles for years. However, it won’t take long to get in the swing of things and, once you do, you’ll feel comfortable behind any wheel, whether it’s that of your work van or your personal car.
Here are some of our top tips to ensure that your transition from driving a car for personal reasons to driving a van is seamless and stress-free.
On the Road
Handling a van on the road is different to handling a car. A van will need longer stopping distances – and it’s important to note that the heavier the load you’re carrying for your courier jobs, the more space and time you will need to brake. You should also be careful going around roundabouts and corners. Your cargo could dislodge itself and fall over if you are travelling too quickly or recklessly, which could cause your vehicle to topple over.
Make sure you know how tall your van is so that you don’t try to drive under any bridges or overpasses that are too low. It sounds basic, but an incredible number of drivers fall victim to this.
You also need to be aware of how many hours you are allowed to drive to deliver goods for your courier jobs each day: ten hours is the maximum time you can spend behind the wheel.
Staying comfortable while driving around doing your courier jobs isn’t just preferable, you should consider it a necessity. Not only will it make your time behind the wheel much more enjoyable, it will also be better for your health overall (feeling cramped for hours at a time does not do the body any good). You’ll also want to know where all your van’s functions are before you ever hit the road, such as the headlights, indicators, wipers and hazard lights – fumbling around for the right button while you’re driving down an unfamiliar road isn’t safe for anyone!
Speaking of unfamiliar roads, if you’re going to be taking a route you’ve never been down before, it’s a good idea to plan how you’ll get there and give yourself some extra time to reach your destination. If you’re especially new to driving a van, consider doing a few trial runs on quiet streets to get the hang of things before you venture out onto a busy motorway. Practice makes perfect, after all!
Starting out a career as a courier is incredibly exciting – and if you’ve been worried about making the switch from car to van, you needn’t be stressed. Of course it will take some getting used to, but with the aforementioned top tips and some time behind the wheel, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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