As a business owner, you never know what skills you might need to learn. As your business grows, you might need to start renting different commercial vehicles, to move stock or for other work tasks. Driving a large vehicle is quite different from driving your car, and you will need to learn how to handle a fleet vehicle safely. Here’s everything you need to know.
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What Commercial Vehicles Can I Drive?
Most people are legally allowed to drive commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. This would include long wheelbase vans and Luton box vans.
Before you decide to find a 3/4 ton fleet truck rental, check your driving license. Some drivers will have more categories on their license and be able to drive larger vehicles. Some older licenses automatically entitle the driver to drive more categories of vehicle, whereas some in areas, you would have to take more lessons and tests to be qualified to drive a vehicle like this.
What Are The Main Differences Between Driving A Passenger Vehicle And A Commercial Vehicle?
Passenger vehicles are usually shorter in both height and length than many commercial vehicles.
In commercial vehicles, the bulkhead (the barrier behind the driver and passenger seats) can greatly limit the amount of visibility that the driver has. If you’re not used to a vehicle like this, this can make executing manoeuvres like changing lanes, over-taking, and reversing much more difficult.
If you’re worried about learning to deal with the lack of visibility when completing reversing manoeuvres, start by using a vehicle you are already familiar with. Practice reversing using only your wing mirrors and side windows. If you do have to reverse a commercial vehicle and are struggling, ask a colleague to help guide you from outside of the vehicle.
You will need to remember that the longer the vehicle is, the wider the turning circle will be. When you need to turn, you will need to leave yourself plenty of extra room and turn later than you usually would in order to safely navigate around corners.
How Do I Get Started
As with any new vehicle, you should take some time to get familiar with the controls, like your lights and wipers, of the vehicle and where they are positioned. Adjust your seat so you can reach the pedals and the steering wheel comfortably. Once you’ve got yourself into a comfortable position, you can adjust the position of your wing mirrors to give the most rear visibility. Take some time to find where the blind spots are and how you can check them.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Learn the dimensions of the vehicle you’re driving, especially the height and length, as these can change the route you can take and where you can park. Research your route and some safe options for parking. Remember, when you park, leave yourself enough room to allow the rear doors to be opened and for items to be loaded in and out.