Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

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TopHatFox
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Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by TopHatFox » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:07 pm

Moving stuff, moving stuff. Van costs $80 for the day, not bad. Free if I can get a van through AC.

The plan is to move the shit to White Plains this weekend, sign the lease in-person, and forward FM's and the SD in person, all while hanging with the land lady. Then I drive my butt back and meditate for 10 days at a Vipassana retreat in Amherst. Come July 1st, I move my butt back to White Plains via train to stay.

Here's the drive: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Amherst ... 339862!3e0

It's 2.5 hours with highways, and around 4 without them. I'm thinking of avoiding highways since I don't have that much driving experience and I'd be driving a cargo van. I'm also thinking it'd be best to bring a friend along for the ride. I have my license but I don't have much driving XP besides what it took to get the license and a previous road trip through Canada.

Sanity check?

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BRUTE
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:04 am

highway driving is really not that hard, even in a cargo van. the main thing is reduced visibility (-> mirrors) and that the van is likely wider than the cars Olaz has previously driven, so the first few miles Olaz should make a conscious effort to stay within his lane. taking a friend is a good idea. probably a good idea to driver (even) more carefully and defensive than usual, due to heavier vehicle weight -> longer braking distance.

humans drive vans on highways every day.

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bryan
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by bryan » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:38 am

Just a cargo van? Not a high-top? Treat it like a mini-van or pick-up truck aka a normal American car!

Stick to the speed limit, hop on the highway, stay in the right lane the whole way. As BRUTE says be extra vigilant and be aware of possibly long breaking distance (match speed of cars far in front of you, if car is close in front of you let it get farther away). For any new-to-you car, always ensure you adjust your mirrors to avoid having a blind spot (this means not being able to see the side of your vehicle, youtube it), test the braking response, etc. By sticking to the right lane, you just need to check your right mirror when you are passing on-ramps to ensure someone doesn't merge into you.

If your vehicle height is ~8ft you'll have to start being aware of things like drive-thrus or parking decks/garages.

IlliniDave
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:38 am

You'll probably find driving on the highway much easier than winding through back roads. The above advice is of course good. Don't get impatient or in a hurry. Look at it as an adventure and embrace it.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:29 am

I agree with Dave, the highway will be easier than back roads. Highways are designed for large vehicles and to avoid stopping and starting.

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jennypenny
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by jennypenny » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:02 am

I agree about sticking to highways, and don't feel compelled to do the speed limit.
Always assume there is someone in your blind spot on both sides.
Don't drive with one hand loosely on the steering wheel like in a car.
Leave plenty of room to brake.
Be aware of downgrades and ride the brake if necessary.
The wind will rock the car a bit if it's windy or on bridges. Also, if you ride behind a truck you'll feel the draft rocking the van a bit.

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bryan
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by bryan » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:33 am

> don't feel compelled to do the speed limit

I should have just suggested to stick to 57-62mph while in right lane. Good gas mileage and less risky. Learn how to use cruise control effectively (don't be afraid to break to disable it; flick of a switch can set it to old/new speed).

OTCW
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by OTCW » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:51 am

May be worth checking if your company will reimburse moving expenses. That's all I've got. The above advice seems prudent. Oh, and try to avoid any rush hour traffic. Should be easy to do for a 2.5 hour trip - leave after the morning rush and get there before the afternoon rush. Unpack and head back to return van after the afternoon rush.

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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:31 pm

Even if they don't reimburse, moving expenses are likely still deductible on 1040. Keep all receipts (gas, food, ...).

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TopHatFox
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:34 pm

@Jacob, good catch! Will do. What's considered a moving expense? Technically paying rent is an expense required for moving... : )

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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:39 pm


Felipe
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Felipe » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:50 pm

I drove a cargo van around the bay to help my sis move, 3 hours about. It was easier than I expected but I have a lot more driving xp than you.

I wouldn't dare do 4 hours on back roads instead of the highways. Drive 5-10 below the limit on the highway. Make sure your shit is secure so it doesn't go flying. I agree to drive defensively and brake, lane change, turn in a predictable way. By the end of the first hour it'll get easy.

Walmarts, McDonalds, Macy's, most big stores have free bathrooms which are great to stop, get a walk break, rehydrate.

Find when traffic is and go in between when you have energy (probably 10am-2pm is clear).

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:28 pm

Try not to pull into anywhere that you will have to back out of. You will be more likely to back into something with a large truck.

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Dragline
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Dragline » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:28 pm

What, no trailer? I drove across the country in a '62 Ford Falcon towing a home-made wood box on a tiny skeleton trailer when I was your age. It was a grand adventure. Put the heavy stuff towards the middle/front to avoid fish-tailing.

Driving on highways is easy. Just don't drive in the left lane unless that's your exit. It's small roads and tight corners that you need to worry about. And going the wrong way and getting lost in New Haven or in the Bronx.

EMJ
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by EMJ » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:17 am

Bring a navigator.
Frequent stops.
Drive it around the block a few times to get a feel for the vehicle. You want to be sure of yourself at 55 mph.

Salathor
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Salathor » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:49 pm

I actually prefer driving in the second lane from the right if I'm nervous, because it's generally slower than the "fast" lanes but I don't have to worry about getting merged into by traffic coming onto the freeway.

Also, if you cruise at just a few miles below the speed limit (say, 63 in a 65 zone) you'll virtually never have anyone within the "three-second rule" zone in front of you, reducing your risk of rearending anybody.

And don't drive in the dark. I drive every day and have for 15 years now, but I still don't like driving on the freeway at night. Road debris (hay bales, car batteries/bumpers, etc.) can be invisible until you're too close.

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C40
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by C40 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:38 pm

If you use a cellphone for navigation, get something so you can mount the phone up near where your eyes are while driving. Many have a suction cup that you can stick to the windshield, near the bottom, next to the A-Pillar (over on the bottom left corner of the windshield). I've found this to work way better than having a passenger describe when and where to turn.

Campitor
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Re: Tips for driving on the highway with a cargo van?

Post by Campitor » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:01 pm

Cargo vans require longer turns to avoid tire rash/curb clipping. Merge very slowly and only after checking your side mirrors thoroughly - this gives a vehicle in your blind spot plenty of time to react to your slow merge. Break early and slowly and keep to the speed limit - too slow and you get tailgaters and angry passers - too fast and any wind sheer will have a greater effect on the van. Pack the van evenly in order to get even weight distribution - this makes a big difference on how the van handles at speed and in turns. And look long and hard at where the rear tires are located in relation to the rear of the van - this will give you an idea on how to pivot when backing up - and chances are you will need to reverse while turning in the most inconvenient spot. When going in reverse in a big vehicle remember that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I've driven everything from cargo vans and 26 footers cross country and in the city.

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