Safety first: driving aids for vans and passenger carriers explained

Learn how Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is setting the standard for panel van, passenger carrier and camper van safety, with its advanced driving tech...

Volkswagen Multivan

Whether your journeys are long or short, for business or pleasure, traversing city streets or covering long distances, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ range of panel vans, passenger carriers and camper vans are packed with a wealth of advanced driving aids that take the stress out of every trip and help keep you, your passengers and your cargo safe.

And with downtime costing fleet managers an average of £550 a day per van, there's money to be saved in keeping it on the road, rather than off it.

It all starts with the new Volkswagen Caddy: a true hero of the range. Taking on Euro NCAP’s new, stricter crash tests, the Volkswagen Caddy MPV scored a full five-stars – helped by impressive passive protection and active safety aids. In fact, the Caddy Cargo took home the award for Best Small Van at the recent What Car? Van Awards, helped by its high level of standard safety equipment.

It’s a philosophy of safety first, no matter the size or specificity of vehicle, that extends across the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range – from the hard-working Volkswagen Transporter and Volkswagen Crafter panel vans to the Volkswagen Multivan passenger carrier and the Volkswagen California range of camper vans.

Here’s a closer look at the unique safety features and innovative technology making van journeys safer and more enjoyable.

Learn more about Volkswagen’s intuitive safety technology

Volkswagen Caddy Cargo

Tech that helps you conquer city streets

Narrow streets, unpredictable pedestrians and sporadic cyclists. Navigating urban streets can be challenging, but not for a Volkswagen van driver. Loaded with the latest groundbreaking safety technology, no city centre scenario will ever phase you.

For starters, every vehicle in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range includes Volkswagen’s sophisticated Front Assist, City Emergency Braking and Post-Collision Braking as standard.

Front Assist uses an advanced radar system to check your distance to the vehicle in front, providing audio and visual warnings should you get too close for comfort. City Emergency Braking lives up to its name, acting as your sixth sense in a constantly evolving urban environment – especially useful in stop-start traffic with unexpected braking. Should a hazard appear, the intuitive on-board computer will stop the vehicle by itself[2].

Next up is Volkswagen’s Post-Collision Braking system. According to Volkswagen research, 25% of accidents involving personal injuries are collisions that occur after the initial accident has happened. The Post-Collision Braking system automatically applies the brakes following an impact, significantly reducing any further damage[2].

With a flurry of urban activity, it’s doubly important to consider your environment while reversing, especially in vans where 360-degree vision can be more limited. That’s why Volkswagen’s vans keep a keen eye on the situation alongside you.

The Cross Traffic Alert system or Rear Traffic Alert on the Volkswagen Caddy (available as part of Side assist) prevents potential collisions when you’re reversing by acting as a second set of eyes that monitor your blind spots and alert you to other vehicles approaching from either side – automatically braking if it spots a hazard.

Additionally, the Volkswagen Crafter – the largest vehicle in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ line-up – can be configured with the optional Rear Traffic Alert system; a useful feature that will warn the driver and even apply the brakes when reversing if it detects traffic passing too close to the rear of the van.

Volkswagen California

Making motorway journeys easier and safer

Out of the city and onto the open road, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ intelligent tech takes the stress and strain out of long journeys with driving and safety aids that lend a helping hand.

Cruise Control and speed limiter are standard on the Volkswagen Caddy and Transporter (optional on the Crafter) but if you opt for Adaptive Cruise Control (an option across Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ full range and standard on the Multivan), the system will adjust your speed automatically to the vehicles ahead, without you needing to control the throttle or tap the brakes[1]. Equally, Active Lane Assist with steering impulse (optional across the range) keeps you on the straight and narrow – counter steering the vehicle if you happen to drift from your lane, unintentionally[2].

Clocking up motorway miles can be tiring. That’s why Volkswagen’s advanced Driver Alert System (which is fitted as standard on the Volkswagen Caddy, Transporter and Crafter) monitors your driving behaviour. It alerts you to any irregular steering inputs and lane deviation. It even studies traffic signals to regulate how long you’ve been on the road at speeds over 40mph to help determine when you may need a break.

The high-definition Digital Cockpit (optional on a variety of Caddy Cargo, Caddy MPV, Transporter trims and standard on the Multivan) will become your best friend on longer stints. Using the crisp, 10.25-inch display, you can choose the key information that matters most, and minimise the time your eyes spend off the road. Combined with an instinctive multi-function steering wheel and perfectly positioned shortcuts, you’ll have both hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road at all times. Opt for voice control (part of the Driver Assist package) to make changing the volume, making phone calls, and adjusting the air-conditioning even easier.

Driving a large van on motorways also means contending with high winds. Luckily, Volkswagen has a solution on-hand in the Crosswind Assist function (standard on the Volkswagen Crafter, Transporter, California and Grand California Camper range). A sub-function of the Electronic Stabilisation Programme, it detects high crosswinds and counteracts them with targeted braking – in turn preventing any divergence from your lane and potential accidents[2].

Volkswagen Transporter Sportline

Park with even more confidence

The stress doesn’t stop once you reach your destination. According to Volkswagen research, 30% of van drivers rank parking in small spaces as the most stressful part of their job[3]. Fortunately, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has a range of intelligent driving aids that make parking a large van easy, helping you avoid annoying and costly collisions.

Park Assist (available as an option across the full breadth of Volkswagen’s van and passenger carrier range, and standard on the Volkswagen California Ocean trim and Multivan Style trim) takes the pressure out of any parking manoeuvre. At the press of a button, the system will assume control of the steering wheel and position your van perfectly in any gruelling gap, leaving only the clutch, acceleration and braking to the driver. Not only will the Park Assist system give you more time to get your goods or passengers safely delivered and kids dropped off, but it’ll ensure you come to a complete stop should an unforeseen hazard rear its head[2].

Do you find parking even more stressful if you’re towing something at the same time? Fortunately, Volkswagen’s Trailer Assist function (available as an option across Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ full range) makes parking a trailer or caravan stress-free. Operating in the same way as Park Assist, simply choose your space, engage and watch your Volkswagen van park itself with trailer in tow[2].

Volkswagen Crafter

Heading onto the rough stuff

Finally, whether you’re battling heavy weather on-road or heading off-road, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has the technology to keep you moving safely.

Volkswagen’s innovative 4MOTION all-wheel drive system (available on all models across the Volkswagen range) inspires confidence in all conditions, with improved road holding, traction and safety – especially if roads are greasy, wet or icy.

Equally, 4MOTION gives you impressive levels of off-road grip and stability, whether you’re carrying tools, crew and materials onto a rough and ready construction site, or taking your family camper van into a slippery muddy field.

So, whichever vehicle from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range you’re driving, and wherever you’re driving it – in the city, on the motorway, in a car park, or even off-road – it’s clear to see how Volkswagen helps you put your safety (and that of your passengers and cargo) first.

Learn more about Volkswagen’s intuitive safety technology

[1] While the driver assistance systems are in operation, the driver must be ready to intervene at all time

[2] Within system thresholds


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