Staying Safe in a 15-Seater

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

What do you do when you need to get a large number of people somewhere and you don’t want to take more than one car? Well, if that number is less than 15, you probably use what is known as a passenger van. You know those huge, usually white, vans that you often avoid in desolate parking lots? They are very handy for transporting your kids (if you are brave enough to have that many), committees, or even sports teams. However, it is not the safest vehicle on the road.

Why are they unsafe?

It all comes down to their center of gravity. Since it is such a large vehicle on such tiny wheels, it doesn’t take much for it to roll over. If the tires are improperly inflated, this risk is increased tenfold. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also points out that many drivers do not have the experience in one of these vehicles that is needed to manhandle it properly.

What can I do to make it safer?

There are actually several things you can do to make sure that your safety in a 15-passenger van is at its best:

Drive smart. Every person that sits behind that steering wheel should understand that the vehicle he is driving is not like a regular car. He needs to drive extra defensively and take each turn with extreme caution.
Load carefully. A big contributor to the rollover risk is a van that is not loaded evenly. If you only have a few passengers, make sure their weights are distributed equally on both sides of the van. The same goes for your cargo.
Remember that it’s not a school bus. Even though its size is not far off from that of a small school bus, it is always important to remember that a passenger van is very far from one. A school bus has extra safety measure throughout it to ensure the children’s safety, while a passenger van simply does not. Everyone always needs to have a seatbelt on and stay seated at all times.
Check tires. There is no vehicle where it is more important to check the tire pressure than in the 15-seater. No other vehicle has such a high rollover risk, which is contingent, in part, on the pressure of the tires.

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