Tips for Driving Different Van Types This Winter
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Driving a van in the snow can require you to adapt to the changing weather. Whether you drive a small van, large van, or electric van. There are a few things you can do to have a smoother and safer winter on the road.
Read our helpful tips for driving different van types this winter.
Small van winter driving tips
As with any van, driving in winter can have its downsides.
If you drive a small van, avoid any excessive braking, acceleration or steering. As well as any sudden gear changes if you are driving a manual van.
This will help to reduce the risk of skidding or sliding on snowy roads.
If your van has a lower ground clearance, you’ll also need to be careful not to scratch the chassis of your van when driving over ice or snow.
Large van winter driving tips
There are a few things to take into consideration when driving a large van, especially in winter.
Large vans, especially if heavy with cargo, require a longer stopping distance in all driving conditions.
But it’s even more important in winter when there’s snow and ice on the road. Always leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles to allow your van more time to react.
If there’s been heavy snow, it’s also likely that your van will be covered in snow. Make sure to carefully brush off any snow without scratching your van's paintwork. It’s vital to do this before you set off as snow could fall off on the road and create a hazard for other road users.
Dropside and tipper van winter driving tips
A tipper van consists of a cabin and a platform at the rear of the van. This can then be raised to easily tip out any load. If you need to suddenly stop or are involved in an accident, heavy loads could easily fall onto the road or vehicles behind you.
When driving a dropside or tipper van in the snow, it's important to make sure that your van doesn’t create any hazards on the road.
Install winter tyres - specialist winter tyres can be added to your van which will enhance your grip on the road.
Make sure your windscreen is not fogged up or frozen - check that your van’s windscreen is free from condensation or ice to avoid any blind spots. Read our article on how to properly defrost your van’s windscreen.
Check your heating - there's nothing worse than when your heating cuts out on the road. Not only will you be left freezing, but it can also make it harder to concentrate and lead to an accident.
Pick up van winter driving tips
Ever found your pick up van struggling when driving in the snow? Even with the help of traction control, you might still struggle in snow and ice.
You can improve handling by:
- Adding sandbags to the trunk bed - the more weight you add, the better the traction. Place sandbags above the rear axle for optimum placement. Adding them too close to the end of your pick up truck could lead to handling problems.
- Utilise four-wheel drive - while both offer improved handling, four-wheel drive is better suited to driving in deep snow. Whereas all-wheel drive is suited to driving on snowy and icy roads.
Minibus van winter driving tips
- Check your tyres - while this is a winter driving tip for all van types, it’s even more important if you are carrying passengers in your minibus van. Regularly check tread depth, tyre pressure, and for any visible cuts or bulges in your tyres.
- Plan ahead - before you set off check the weather forecast. If conditions are set to worsen throughout your journey, postpone it until the weather improves. If your journey is necessary, take your time and drive more cautiously on the road.
- Avoid distractions - if your minibus van is full of passengers, it can be easy to get distracted. But always concentrate on the road and try not to get distracted if it is noisy.
- Take extra breaks - driving a minibus van with passengers requires a lot of concentration and even more so on a winter’s day. Take regular breaks every few hours to maintain a high level of concentration throughout the entire journey.
- Keep a winter van kit - this should include safety items, tools, and first aid items. Find out more about what to include in our winter van kit guide.
Electric van winter driving tips
If this is your first winter driving an electric van, there are a few things you can do to prolong your electric van’s battery life.
Pre-heat your van - air conditioning and heating are two of the main battery-draining culprits and can lower your electric range. Many vans now let you pre-heat the temperature of the cabin before even leaving the house.
By doing so, your van will be at the ideal toasty temperature when you get behind the wheel. This also uses less energy as your electric van will then efficiently maintain the right temperature.
Park your van in a garage - parking your van in a garage is beneficial all year round, but especially in winter. It will help your van to retain heat and have a huge impact on battery performance. Also prolonging your electric van's charge levels.
Plan your journey - if you are driving an unfamiliar route, always plan ahead to see where your nearest electric van charging points are. Throughout the winter, the roads can move slower and there’s nothing worse than running out of charge on the road. It’s also important not to drive with less than 20% charge left. This can leave you more at risk of an empty battery.
Use eco mode - by utilising your electric van’s eco mode, you can maximise efficiency and conserve power.
Prepare your van for winter driving
If your van isn’t set for the winter season, it might be time to consider buying a new van. That’s where we can help at Vansdirect.
We stock a wide range of new vans from leading manufacturers including Citroen, Ford, Peugeot, and Renault. Our expert team can help you find the right van for your needs, at the right price with our van finance options.
Contact us today to start your journey.