Firms told to offer staff van driving lessons

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 10:18
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Firms are being called upon to make sure they have adequate van drivers available by offering advanced training for nervous team members.

Van experts from LeaseVan.co.uk say many potential drivers are too nervous to get behind the wheel of a van and some firms could even be missing out on jobs when their regular drivers are absent.

They are now calling for firms to sponsor employees to take advanced driver training and an advanced test to give them the confidence to handle a van.

Currently any motorist who holds a standard driving license can legally drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg fully loaded.

With a Ford Transit weighing around 2,000kg when empty this means anyone who has passed their test can legally drive a medium sized van without a further test.

But while many drivers are quite happy to step up from a car to a van there are a significant number who find the idea of driving a larger vehicle intimidating.

This can be a problem for businesses who employ a limited number of van drivers and who struggle to meet customer needs when drivers are absent from work.

For these companies, it could be an asset to have confident van drivers in reserve in case regular drivers are on holiday or off with sickness.

Being able to drive a van can also boost someone’s employment prospects with many jobs available for confident drivers.

Tim Alcock from LeaseVan.co.uk said: “Driving a van isn’t really very different from driving a standard car but some people are put off by the extra dimensions of a van.

“Larger vehicles are slower to accelerate, need more room to manoeuvre and require greater breaking distance so drivers must be mindful of these differences.

“Many vans aren’t fitted with rear view mirrors as the rear of the van will block the view when loaded anyway, so van drivers typically rely on their wing mirrors.

“Most drivers easily adapt to these challenges when they start driving a van but there are some nervous motorists who find the idea of van driving rather daunting.

“We are encouraging our clients and all small business owners to make sure they have a pool of confident van drivers they can call upon if key team members are away from work on holiday or sick leave.

“By having substitute drivers on the bench they can make sure they never miss out on opportunities simply because they don’t have a driver available.”

He added that the cost of preparing a team member for the advanced driving test would typically be a few hundred pounds.

He said: “Gaining an advanced driving qualification could really help to improve the team member’s confidence behind the wheel and if it means they could handle van driving duties for their company then it could turn out to be a fantastic investment for the business.”

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