Top 5 Van Safety Tips
If you use your van for work, it’s safe to say that, alongside yourself, it’s probably your biggest asset. Health and safety have never been more important but there are measures you can take to protect yourself, your van and its contents, ensuring that your van safety is as good as it can be, leaving you free to get on with the day job.
Consider van safety when buying your vehicle
If you’re a sole trader, choosing the right van is likely to be the biggest purchasing decision you’ll make, so ensure that security and van safety are a top priority. It goes without saying that you should always buy from a reputable dealer, so you know that the vehicle will be in top condition but give some thought to security features as well. Not every van will come with the latest cutting-edge safety features as standard, but at the very least, most modern vans should have airbags and ABS. If you’re involved in an accident, both of these can literally be life savers.
Also, research pays off, so know what to look for when buying your new van. A fixed bulkhead is a great option for ensuring that unsecured items in the back of the van don’t shift forwards in the event of heavy braking, and vans that offer double-locking help to keep the load area secured separately to the passenger compartment. Make sure you read the manual that comes with the vehicle to ensure that you’re up to speed with your van safety features and how they work in case of an incident.
Know your load
Health and safety have become increasingly important, but they need to be a constant consideration when thinking about van safety. Making sure your van’s contents are secure and safe is key to ensuring you and your goods arrive at your destination in one piece. Your van’s layout, its weight capacity and how you load it will dictate whether it’s safe to drive. You’ll find the maximum weight on the vehicle’s identification number (VIN) plate. Remember, this is the maximum amount that your van can weigh while it’s on the move, not just the load, so you will need to consider extras including passengers, fuel and driver weight too.
It’s important to give careful consideration to how you load your cargo too to maximise your van safety. Have a loading plan and, if you’re making multiple deliveries, make sure you load the last items first. You should always load from the back, working your way forwards and storing heavy items on the lower levels for increased stability. Straps and webbing are ideal for holding contents in place when you’re on the move and the van’s anchor points should tell you how to configure the strapping accordingly.
There are times when we can all be up against it and it might be tempting to cut corners or put your foot down, literally. However, sticking to speed limits and driving safely will help to prevent accidents, keep your insurance premiums down and ensure you stay on the right side of the law. Once your van’s loaded, drive slowly and steadily, with smooth steering and application of the brake and throttle. Any short sharp movements can reduce your van’s stability and dislodge your cargo from its strapping.
On longer trips, make regular checks of the cargo to ensure that everything remains safe and secure, and if you hear or see anything that looks unusual, stop and check it immediately. It’s always important to remember that speed limits will vary from road to road and vans have different speed limits to cars. In addition, the heavier your cargo, the longer it will take to stop, particularly in wet weather conditions, so be mindful at all times when you’re on the road.
It’s amazing the peace of mind that having the right security features can offer. In addition to reducing your insurance premiums, security measures can help to prevent incidents that will cost you time and money. If you’re looking for a new van, then an alarm and an immobiliser should come as standard, but there are other features you can explore to boost your security creds. Electronic GPS trackers, for example, can increase the chance of your vehicle being returned to you in the event of a theft, and its addition might reduce your insurance premium too. Steering wheel locks and hand brake locks are another more economical, yet effective way of deterring thieves.
Security should be front of mind with where you park your van. Choose a well-lit area, preferably with CCTV to deter potential thieves and don’t leave valuables in your vehicle. If you do need to leave tools and goods in your van, then at least keep them out of sight and preferably locked away. It’s always a good idea to invest in security such as motion-detecting security lights or CCTV cameras that can connect to your wi-fi network to activate and record footage – not only will these add-ons give you extra peace of mind, but they could also lower your premiums.
Okay, so we know this is probably a bit of an obvious one but, if you’re a tradesperson, it’s likely that your van’s contents are possibly as valuable as the vehicle itself. Prevention is always better than cure but making sure that you have adequate insurance cover for both your van and its contents will mean that, in a worst-case scenario, you should be able to replace your assets with minimal expense and relative ease. We always recommend shopping around for your cover and comparing quotes to ensure that you’re getting a quote that best suits your needs at a competitive price.
For peace of mind that you’re covered, whatever your insurance needs, get a quick and competitive quote from The Van Insurer today!
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