Over the Busy Summer Months Watch for the Danger of Passenger Vans
Passenger vans are common sights on roadways across Mississippi during the busy summer months. College groups, church youth groups, camps and others keep the vehicles full. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (“NHTSA”) recently urged the users of such 15-passenger vans to take certain steps to keep drivers and passengers safe as the vehicles hold a special danger if not operated properly.
These larger passenger vans handle very differently from smaller passenger vehicles because they are typically longer, higher, wider, and heavier (especially when fully loaded). They require trained drivers who are comfortable and experienced with the unique driving challenges associated with larger vehicles. Some of these differences include a greater reliance on side mirrors, greater difficulty changing lanes, and longer brake distances. Passenger vans also have a higher risk of crashes and rollovers if they are not properly operated.
These vans are especially sensitive to improper loading which is why the NHTSA warns that drivers should never overload the vans, no matter what. Users should make sure that the tires are inflated and have been inspected before any major trip. Spares should never be used as long-term replacements given the special dangers of such vans.
Passenger Van Safety TipsThe NHTSA provided the following list of tips if you’re planning a trip using such a passenger van in the near future:
- Owners should make sure that drivers are properly licensed, well trained, and experienced in operating passenger vans.
- Drivers should be well rested. Fatigue can affect driving and response times.
- Vehicle weight should never exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
- Drivers should inspect the vehicle before every trip. Tires should be properly inflated and should not show signs of wear or damage.
- Passengers should be warned not to stand up or move about the vehicle while the van is in motion.
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