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Half of van drivers unaware of breaking distances when loaded

Apr 29, 2019
Van drivers are risking accidents by failing to leave enough distance to stop, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which shows over half of van drivers don’t know how heavy loads impact braking distances.

VW van being loadedVW conducted a series of brake tests at the MIRA Proving Grounds in the UK on its range of vans, with the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter carrying varying weights from empty to 500kg at both 30mph and 60mph.  The tests showed that a loaded van can take up to 36% longer to stop than an empty one, equal to an extra five metres to stop at 60mph. 

But a survey revealed over half of van drivers couldn’t identify how much longer it would take to brake when driving a loaded van, and just 17% could correctly identify the Highway Code advised 30mph stopping distances.

Carl zu Dohna, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said, “Braking distances in the Highway Code are based on an advised standard and don’t take into account the loads that many van drivers carry.”

Supporting the research, Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research, said, “This is an important message from a brand which is really leading the way in commercial van safety. We would also encourage van drivers to ensure that loads are well-secured, as movement of heavy items in the rear can also affect stability and stopping distance.”

In 2017 VW announced that all its new vans would be fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which it claims to be a first.

Photo: VW van being loaded

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