Van drivers are 142% more likely to crash while reversing than other drivers.
The finding has emerged in a study of crash reports between 2008 and 2012 from Road Safety Analysis and AXA Business Insurance, which looked at situations where van drivers are more – or less – at risk.
Vans also appeared to be more of a crash target when parked – by more than 40% – and changing lanes and motorway driving were revealed as danger points.
Richard Owen, of Road Safety Analysis, told Fleet News: “We have to remember that while HGV drivers get rigorous additional training for driving a specialist vehicle, almost anyone can get behind the wheel of a van.
“Common manoeuvres such as changing lanes, reversing and parking are considerably more demanding in a much larger vehicle.
“We’ve all been taught to reverse a car; but in a van, visibility is restricted and the dimensions are very different.”
The study looked at more than 1.3 million police crash reports and analysed how, in the opinion or reporting police officers, van drivers contribute to crashes. Risk factors highlighted included:
• Tiredness, observation errors and long-distance motorway driving
• Longer hours on the road overall, pressure from employers to meet tight deadlines and missing breaks
• Tailgating. Van drivers are 47% more likely to be involved in a crash when tailgating than other drivers
Among the main areas given for van crashes were London – van drivers are 22% over-represented here – the Midlands, and the North East, where they are 18% more likely to crash than other motorists.