Safe Driving (Speed Limits)

In this article we will cover:

Speed limits for minibuses are generally different to those for cars and depend on the number of seats in the vehicle. The legal speed limits for the Union’s minibuses are shown in the table below. Most people are scared or nervous when they come to drive a minibus for the first time. Follow these simple tips, and there is no need to be either.

Take your time

Driving in London can be intimidating. Don’t let it get to you.

Take some time over the smaller streets and the sharper turns to make sure that you negotiate them correctly. Worry about the traffic behind you later. Take breaks and share the driving.

According to law you must take a 45 minute break for every 4.5 hours of driving.

If you have been working all day it is recommended that you lower this to every two hours. It is strongly recommended that you take more than one driver on journeys over three hours to share the driving. 

The Union’s 15 seat minibuses cannot be used for towing. Furthermore, all Union minibuses have speed limiters fitted which restrict their speed to 62mph (100 km/h) - this is a European Union ruling and applies to all modern minibuses.

Motorway driving

Keep left on a Motorway except when overtaking. The Union’s minibuses are speed limited to 62mph and as such are legally not allowed to use the outer lane of a motorway with three or more lanes.

Steering

Keep both hands on the top half of the steering wheel in a ‘ten to two’ position. Do not rest your arms or hands anywhere else and do not use the window as an armrest even if your hands are still on the wheel. When cornering, braking or driving through standing water you should tighten your grip slightly. On slippery surfaces steer gently and do not accelerate or decelerate while steering. Do not change gear while steering and at no time should your arms cross.

Braking

Remember that the Union minibuses are bigger and heavier than a normal car and as such you should start braking earlier than you would in a smaller vehicle. Adjust your following distances accordingly.

In good weather you should leave a two second gap between yourself and the vehicle in front, in bad weather this should be increased to 4 seconds and 10 seconds in icy conditions.

Turn wide around corners Most people who fail their first introduction do so because they run over curbs. The simple and easy way of driving around corners is to wait until your rear wheels are level with the corner, before turning in. Vehicles pivot around the rear wheels, so if they are level with the corner they can never hit it. Be aware of your size The Union minibuses are 2.4m wide. People who own and drive their own cars are particularly prone to this - they forget they are in a bigger vehicle and accidentally hit other road users.

Get help reversing

The central mirror, used widely in cars, is often obscured in minibuses. This means that you can’t see directly behind you. Instead you should have someone outside the minibus who can direct you and ensure that no other vehicles or pedestrians try to cross your path while you are reversing. If you lose sight of your observer you should stop immediately. Your observer should wear a reflective jacket when directing a minibus - this can be found in the minibus.

Mirrors

Only two mirrors are useful on the Union minibuses, although they do have extra ‘blind spot mirrors’. You need to use both mirrors, and perform a shoulder check, to adequately check your blind spot. If you fail to do this you may well end up having an accident. Before you set off, ensure that your mirrors are correctly orientated and change them if necessary.

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