Do you know your braking distances with a full load? More than half of van drivers don’t

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Author: | Updated: 12 Feb 2019 12:00

Everyone remembers panicking over stopping distances when revising for their theory test, but new research from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed over half of van drivers on the road are unsure of the impact a full load has on stopping distances.

The majority of van drivers carry up to half a tonne of equipment on a daily basis. This can increase braking distances by up to 36% - equal to an extra five metres to stop at 60mph.

Volkswagen Commercial

Volkswagen Commercial conducted a series of brake tests on its range of vans, with the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter carrying varying weights from empty to 500kg at both 30mph and 60mph.

The results revealed that 30mph braking distances increased by an average of 33% when vans had half a tonne of ballast on board – equal to an extra two metres travelled. At 60mph, braking distances increased by an average of 19%, or five metres.

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, while just 17% could correctly identify the Highway-Code-advised 30mph stopping distances.

Carl zu Dohna, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our Working With You promise not only means building safe vans and supporting owners to keep them in good condition; we take our responsibilities to van drivers seriously and this research highlights a lack of knowledge that could prove lethal.

“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. Our research highlights an important safety message that van drivers could really benefit from.”


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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is currently the only manufacturer to offer Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) across its range as standard. If AEB was fitted to all commercial vehicles in the UK, it could potentially to stop almost 2,500 crashes per year.

Vehicles fitted with autonomous emergency braking also benefit from an average insurance premium saving of 10 per cent. The insurance rating of the all-new Crafter was reduced by four groups thanks to standard fitment of AEB.

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