Van Man’s best friend helps mental wellbeing


Van operators are battling loneliness by taking their dogs on the road for company, with more than 200,000 van drivers hosting canine companions on any given day.

According to the latest Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer, which monitors the opinions of more than 2,000 van drivers and owners, life on the road can be a lonely place.  The average driver spends over 17 hours completely alone, while 35% of drivers spend at least 20 hours in solitude.
So with mental health and driver wellbeing taking more in focus than ever before, drivers are turning to the ‘Van Man’s Best Friend’ to raise their spirits.  One in five of those who took part in the survey agreed that their dogs have had a direct positive impact on their mental health.
Some 52% of van operators who bring their dogs with them in their vehicle said they do so simply because it makes them feel happier.
• Those who take their dogs with them throughout their work day said they feel much happier (52%) and more relaxed (45%).
• 33% said their dog just helps them get through their day.
• 53% said having their dogs with them has actually helped in winning new business.
Considering that the average driver gets stuck in congestion for up to 13 hours a day, this friendship is really making a difference.
The survey also found that 65% of van drivers and operators own at least one dog, with 36% of these having more than one.  And proving that the UK really is a nation of dog lovers, 38% of road-going dogs are from rescue centres.
“It’s great that our canine friends can join the nation’s hard-working van operators in the vehicles, providing much needed company along the way,” Steve Bridge, the MD of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, said.  “However it is also important to remember that dogs need to be suitably restrained according to the Highway Code, so a seat belt harness would be a good investment to ensure that both the driver and the dog are safe and secure.  I wish I could take Gilbert, my Westie, to work with me!”
The Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer is a nationwide quarterly survey of 2,000 businesses large and small, created to help understand the economic landscape and discover what van owners and drivers need to keep their business moving.