Top Tips for Driving Commercial Vehicles
Tue Feb 20, 2018

What Commercial Vehicles can I drive?

Most people are legally entitled to drive commercial vehicles up to 3.5T. These include Long Wheel Base Vans and Luton Box Vans. 

Some drivers will have additional categories on their license. Any driver who passed their test before 1st January 1997 is automatically entitled to drive most categories of vehicle (including vehicles greater than 3.5T). Other drivers may take additional lessons and tests to qualify for these categories.

What are the main differences between driving a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle?

Passenger vehicles tend to be shorter in both height and length.

Due to the bulkhead in most commercial vehicles (the barrier behind the driver and passenger seats) driver's visibility to the rear is limited. This makes executing manoeuvres such as changing lanes, over-taking or reversing a little more tricky.

Top Tip: If you are worried about the lack of visibility in reversing manoeuvres, use a vehicle you are already familiar with first to practice reversing using just the wing mirrors and side windows. When reversing a commercial vehicle, if possible ask a friend to help guide you from outside of the vehicle.

Be aware that the longer the vehicle is, the wider the turning circle will be - so you'll need to leave extra room and/or turn later than you usually would to navigate around corners.

How do I get started?

As with any new vehicle, take a second to familiarise yourself with the vehicle controls and where they are positioned (e.g. lights and wipers).

Adjust the seat so that you can comfortably reach the pedals and the steering wheel.

Once you are comfortable, adjust the position of the wing mirrors to provide maximum rear visibility. Take a second to ascertain where the blind spots are and how you may check them. 

What else do I need to know?

Learn the dimensions of the vehicle - particularly the length and height, as these may restrict your route (e.g low bridges) and where you can park the vehicle.

Know/research your route and where you may safely park the vehicle. 

Top Tip: Remember to leave enough room when parked to enable the rear doors to be opened and for items to be loaded in and out.

How much weight can a commercial vehicle carry?

This is known as the 'payload' and it depends upon the vehicle. All of our vehicle listings carry this information under the 'Benefits' tab:

Benefits Tab

Top Tip: The Payload includes not only the weight of the load, but also of the driver and any passengers. Remember to factor in passenger weight when deducing the weight you need to be able to carry in the vehicle.

The important thing to remember is that the weight must be distributed evenly throughout the load space to avoid overloading the vehicle's mechanisms. It is also a good idea to secure or tie down bulky/heavy to avoid damage to the interior load space, should they shift or fall in transit. 

Commercial Vehicles can be targets for thieves so always ensure the vehicle is locked when leaving it, and where possible remove valuables (e.g. overnight). Never leave possessions on display in the cab.