August 25th, 2020

Tips on driving a large Sprinter van, a large Transit van, crew or passenger minibus

Driving tips for large vans, Sprinter or Transit.

Driving a van might sound a bit frightening – but there is nothing to worry about. If you can drive a car, with some finesse, you’ll be able to drive a van.

Vans are just like bigger cars, and the best vans in the industry are even more comfortable to drive than traditional cars. With standards such as ABS braking, traction control, e-brake, airbags, and sound systems – you won’t even feel a difference between vans and cars.

If you want to know how you can drive a van to fit your unique needs and purposes, you’ll need some insider know-how. That is why we’re going to give you our top tips for driving a large van below. After reading these tips, you’ll have all the knowledge, confidence, and finesse you need to be a van driving pro.

Planning your routes

If you want to be a van driving pro, you’re going to need a bit more than the best rental van possible. One of the most important things you’ll need is a plan. Before you leave your originating point, make sure to plan a route. After that, plan another one just in case. Always having a plan is going to give you far more confidence when you’re driving, and is going to cut down on possible delays.

Get acquainted with automatic!

Driving large van with automatic transmission

Most cars in the USA have an automatic transmission, so it’s very likely that you already know your way around the ole’ PRNDL. Trucks, vans, and other bigger vehicles tend to have a lot of gears, but all our vans have automatic transmissions, and will make your life that much easier if you’re planning on driving a large van.

Respect the speed limit

You need to respect the speed limit. Just because you’re driving a Sprinter van doesn’t mean you have to be sprinting! Driving at the speed limit, especially when driving a van, will give you far more control over the vehicle and cargo and allow you to spot obstacles quicker.

Watch out for swerving!

Swerving can be pretty dangerous, and it’s far more likely to happen when you’re driving a van. If you want to drive a transit van safely, you’ll have to account for the cargo, the overall weight, and the side winds. Furthermore, when you’re passing other vehicles – what works with a car might not work with a van.

You are TALL - keep the roof safe!

Unless you’re driving a monster truck, you’re probably not used to the height of vans. Vans have pretty high roofs, so you’ll have to pay special attention if you fit. Pay extra close attention when entering hotel parking buildings, hotel entrances, and drive-throughs. You can’t raise the roof, so you’ll have to find specific parking for your vehicle – which is either oversized or long term.

Turn slowly

how to turn slowly large vans

When you’re driving a van, you’re pulling a lot more weight than usual, and at that size, you’ll have to pay attention to corners. When you’re turning around the corners, make sure to pay attention to it. It’s going to be tougher in a van than in a car. Make sure to signal correctly and enter the turn at the correct speed.


When driving a van for long distances, your top priority shouldn’t be speed – it should be your safety. If you feel tired at any moment, it’s much better to make a stop and rest for a bit than to cause an accident. Always rest if you feel the need to – your trusty van isn’t going anywhere.

Dodge Distraction while driving vans

large van driving tips

Some of our Mercedes Sprinter vans have awesome sound systems, a nice stereo, AUX in, GPS, and more. When driving, keeping yourself entertained, but don’t let these gadgets and features interfere with your driving or get you distracted by them.

Weather factors

While it might sound a bit bizarre, you’ll have to pay attention to weather conditions when driving a van. While you can drive on rainy days and through a blazing inferno of sun, it’s not recommended to drive a van during the powerful wind. Winds can flip you and your van in no time, especially if you’re going too fast. If you have to drive through powerful wind, slow down a bit.

Remember the additional weight!

There is a huge difference in performance, breaking, and overall driving between a loaded and an empty van. Fully loaded cargo vans need more space to break, are susceptible to swerving, and are slower in general. If you want to load a sprinter van safely, never load more than the van can carry. Keep in mind that, if you overload your van, the handling, performance, and safety drop significantly. Always be safe when you’re driving a van and mind your cargo!

Load your van properly

loading crew cargo van

Loading a van is a no brainer, right? Wrong. Loading a van is a science of its own, and improperly loading it could lead to a world of trouble. When loading a crew cargo van, it is very important that your cargo cannot shift or touch people that are seating in the van, especially in the crew seats. Don’t stack too high, ensure that the items are secured and that they’re not going to get damaged. The last thing you want in your cargo bay is items flying in the back with every turn. Remain below the maximum load capacity, and always spread out the heavy items evenly.

Vehicle blind spots

avoid blind spot when driving large van

Blind spots are the arch-nemesis of every van driver. Mercedes Metris vans are very similar to cars when it comes to blind spots, but some vans are far different. That is why you need to know your vehicle. Larger vans such as Mercedes Sprinter Passenger Vans, or Ford Transit Cargo vans have the same blind spots, but far less visibility. They do have large wing mirrors, which more than makes up for the lesser visibility. When you’re merging into lanes, always look over both shoulders with extra caution, some small car might be in your blind spot, and you couldn’t even notice it. Safety first, speed second!

Safety First!

On the topic of safety, you’re going to have to take it even more seriously when driving a van. While you might get away with driving a car and doing something else, driving a van and focusing on anything else than driving could be even more disastrous. You don’t want to kill yourself or anyone else on the road, so remember never to text and drive. You should never text and drive. Make sure to always be on full alert when driving a van, and always practice proper safety measures.

Parking a van

Tips for parking large van

While you can’t afford to get distracted while driving a van, if you can, you should bring a friend along. Parking a van is way harder than parking a car, and while the same rules apply, the size difference makes it a lot harder. Having a friend on board is going to help you park by a considerable margin. The larger models in large vans with tall roofs require more roof clearing.

If you don’t have any friends that will be your shotgun buddy, you should take extra care when parking a van. Take as much time as possible when you’re parking – no one is rushing you. Pay attention to the size clearance, pay attention to the nearby vehicles, and never rush it! It’s not a race. Mistakes happen, and if you make one, try again. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Any questions check out our awesome Sprinter YouTube Cannel for more driving and loading tips.