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Driving and Parking Your Hire Van - A Useful Guide

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Modern vans are fairly easy to drive - but there are still a few important differences if you're mainly used to driving a car:

  • No central rear-view mirror - make sure your wing mirrors are adjusted before you set off
  • Higher - know how high your van is. Even a low roof panel van is 2m high - often the height limit in car parks. Most rental companies hold you responsible for roof damage and exclude it from their insurance cover.
  • Bigger, heavier and slower to stop
  • May have blind spots - be careful when overtaking or pulling out
  • Van speed limits are different: Motorways: 70mph / Dual carriageways: 60mph / Single carriageways: 50mph / Built-up areas: 30mph

    These speed limits apply to all vans except for car-derived vans with a maximum gross weight of under 2 tonnes - e.g. Vauxhall Corsa & Astra vans, Ford Fiesta Van, Renault Clio van. Car speed limits apply to these models.)

Van Driving Tips

Know the height of your hire van and plan to avoid height restrictions - residential and public car parks often have height barriers. The chances are that these will be too low for most panel vans and all Lutons.

Keep an eye out for very low bridges, too, especially if you are driving a Luton van. If you damage the roof, you will probably have to pay for the damage as most hire companies exclude roof damage from their insurance.

Driving using your wing mirrors isn't as hard as you might think, and van mirrors often have handy blind-spot mirrors, too, allowing you to see down the side of your van more easily.

Modern van engines are pretty powerful and they all have power steering and car-style gearboxes too - so the actual driving shouldn't present any problems. However, always remember that a van, especially if it's loaded, is:

  • Wider
  • Longer
  • Heavier
  • Slower to stop
  • Less stable

...than a car.

So take it easy, look further ahead than usual and try to brake and corner more gently.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with the controls and gearbox before setting off


Parking a van, especially a big one, can seem a bit intimidating at first.

To start with, you've got no rear-view mirror - meaning you are completely dependent on your wing mirrors or on sticking your head out of the window (this can work well)

However, it isn't that hard, really.

The trick is simply to take it easy. It really is a case of slow and steady wins the day. If you're going slow enough then you shouldn't do much damage even if you do have a minor bump!

Don't be ashamed to get out and look or to have someone see you back - especially if it's dark or raining, both of which make it much harder to see in your wing mirrors.

We hope you find our guide helpful



Foley - For Car, Van & Man With Van Hire, Kidderminster, Worcestershire