Whether standard white van man or customising fanatic, van drivers are highly likely to be packing their vans with more gadgets than the average driver.
Or so says van insurance specialist Adrian Flux Insurance Services. Adrian Flux has observed an increasing use by drivers of extra gizmos, things that either make the driving experience easier or simply more enjoyable.
Vans have come a long way since the bouncing furry dice of Del-boy Trotter’s Reliant Robin was the last word in gadgetry. If you still want those, in a post-modern sense of irony, you’ll find a modern pair at Halfords for £3.99
But what makes a white-van gadget today? For us, they come in four varieties – safety, labour-saving, entertainment and relaxation, and vehicle maintenance – but they also must be ‘retro-fittable’ – that is, you can buy and fit them to older vans or base-level models.
- Some of the most useful safety items are the latest in reversing alarms from Reversealarm and the award-winning Dolphin DPS-400 parking sensors.
- Time- and labour-saving gadgets can help you drive more carefully and efficiently. For many van drivers that often means a commercial-quality combined satnav and speedtrap detector, such as the Snooper S7000 Ventura.
- Entertainment and comfort facilities make time spent in the van feel more relaxing and enjoyable. For example, it’s still amazing how van manufacturers fit the most basic and primitive radios to vans. More and more drivers are seeing the benefits of DAB when on the move, and the simplest way is to get an add-on unit like the new Pure Highway. This is a portable DAB unit that you can carry with you from van to van, and which transmits the music/radio signal to the van’s own built-in FM radio. Comfort also means refreshments, and on long journeys in hot weather there’s nothing quite like Mobicool mobile cold boxes. They are built for professional use, but compact and light enough to carry from job to job, and use at home too.
- Next there are the vehicle maintenance gadgets. If you spend a lot of time on the road, a Ring RAC600 air compressor will come in handy soon enough – if not for your own van’s tyres, then for the person with the flat tyre that you stop to help. If you care enough about the van’s appearance to want to turn up to jobs with it looking clean, the latest Mobi V-15 portable pressure washer is a must-have: a 15 litre wash tank that you can carry around for a quick pressure wash in the middle of nowhere, powered from the van’s own 12V supply.
One thing these four types of gadget have in common is the attraction they have for thieves. And so there’s a fifth one – security.
Security is big business in vans, and the amount of gadgetry available to protect your vehicle is staggering, from motion sensors to alert you to when the parked van has been tampered with, to tracking equipment that can tell you where the vehicle is.
Often the most successful security gadgetry is the most hidden and unobtrusive. This might sound counter-intuitive, but smart thieves can be more wary of vans if it’s not easy for them to see if there’s security equipment aboard. Not knowing puts them at a disadvantage.
One of the simplest products to protect against theft is the new Centinel ClutchClaw. This locks the clutch and brake pedals together, thus stopping the vehicle from being driven. Once set in place it can be locked in seconds, and is small enough to be stored under the seat. The key is not required to lock it. In tests it has taken some experienced lock-breakers up to half an hour to remove. It fits almost any van, and can be transferred between vans as required.