Safeguarding van driver health and wellbeing

Research suggests that van drivers are susceptible to poorer mental and physical health due to numerous factors, including isolation, lack of exercise and poor diet. Since the pandemic began, drivers have been working extra hard to keep the nation afloat which is having an even bigger impact on their health.

Mercedez-Benz has published a survey recognising the nation’s van heroes, their resilience and the personal challenges that come with working an extra five hours per week.

On the back of this, we want to make sure van drivers are looking after their emotional and physical wellbeing as best they can, so we have pulled together our top tips for staying happy and healthy on the road.

Consider your diet

Did you know that, according to the British Dietetic Association (BDA) up to 60 per cent of a van driver’s eating and drinking takes place in their vehicle? That is a lot of your daily intake, and if you’re not eating nutritious meals at work, your overall health is likely to suffer.

Van drivers should ensure they are leaving themselves time to prepare balanced, nutritious meals before heading out on the road. This will not only cut down on costs but will also help to reduce frequent snacking on unhealthy foods.

Research by Mercedez-Benz revealed that drivers are also likely to avoid drinking fluids, so they don’t need to stop for toilet breaks. Van drivers should drink eight cups of fluid during a shift to stay hydrated, as those who are dehydrated are more likely to make errors and feel lethargic.

Sleep and rest

Putting your own rest on the back seat can be easily done when you are busy helping others, especially during a pandemic.

A lack of sleep and appropriate rest can affect your mental and physical health as well as your alertness and productivity at work. On top of this, according to the Department for Transport, 20 per cent of accidents on UK roads are related to sleep deprivation.

It is crucial for van drivers to get enough sleep the night before a long shift. If you struggle with this, try to implement a night-time routine that helps you wind down and becomes a habit. It is also important to step away from the wheel and spend quality time with family or friends, as enjoying personal hobbies helps avoid the risk of burn-out.

People power

One of the positives to come out of the pandemic is the way in which the nation came together to help one another through a difficult time. The Mercedez-Benz survey asked van drivers where their determination and resilience came from, and their answer? People.

Colleagues, employers, and the great British public are helping to power the van community right now, with 82% of van drivers feeling appreciated for what they are doing. Make sure you are reaching out to those in your community, the power of people is not to be underestimated.

Resources

If you feel like recent events have taken a toll on your wellbeing, you are not alone. There are online resources available that are specific to the van community, to help you stay on top of your health and wellbeing.

Highways England and Driving for Better Business have teamed up with CALM to help support drivers through tough times. CALM Driver provides information to support commercial vehicle drivers, so they know there is someone to talk to, every day, if they need it.

From all of us at The Van Insurer, we applaud all your hard work and are grateful for your service, our van heroes.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on www.thevaninsurer.co.uk for more news relating to the van world and, for a quote on your insurance, drop us a line today on 0330 022 7725.