Pass Plus Test in a Seven Seater
Seven-seater cars are big behemoths that need care and attention when driving which is no different to driving any vehicle really, but due to most MPVs tipping the scales at two-tonnes and beyond, it's your duty to be extra careful. Thankfully, most MPVs are front-wheel drive which is a little more forgiving than rear-wheel drive cars.
When you're thinking of buying a seven-seater to cart your friends and family around in, you have to realise that no matter how many electronic aids that a manufacturer blankets the car in, such as stability control, ABS, traction control etc., there is still only one thing that can avoid an accident and that's you! It might be a good idea to take a PassPlus driving test or invest in some advanced driving techniques training, as car control is not covered very well on regular UK driving tests. Inertia is one of the biggest reasons people have an accident in a larger, heavier vehicle and no electronic aid can stop it.
Learning to drive more smoothly when cornering, braking and accelerating are key points in keeping inertia in check. It's a common misconception that new cars must be heavier than before due to safety, as extra side impact beams only weigh around 50-70kgs, the same as your average teenager. As cars become bigger and heavier, your driving style needs to adapt to the extra bulk of the seven-seater car and you shouldn't rely on the electronic driver aids.
Understanding understeer and oversteer are important when driving a large car. Understeer occurs when the front wheels want to go straight ahead even though you're turning the steering wheel. This happens when there is too much forward momentum and the tyres cannot cope. Oversteer is when the rear end of the car wants to overtake the front. This normally occurs with rear-wheel drive cars but it can happen in front-wheel drive ones if you turn a corner and lift off the accelerator quickly. Both are equally dangerous situations for you and other road users, and learning how to counter-act both is key when you're in charge of a two-tonne weapon.
No one wants to admit that they might need extra help with their driving as the laws for going further aren't mandatory, but that's not to say it isn't a good idea. There's little argument against a few extra hours of tuition compared to having to deal with causing a fatal accident. Until car manufacturers begin to use lighter, stronger and more efficient materials that in turn have a direct effect on the overall weight of the vehicle, we need to be vigilant in driving safely. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to drive at 11mph everywhere but it does mean that you're in total control should the need arise to correct a wayward 7 seater from barrelling down the road.