Van Man's Best Friend? - Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer

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The UK’s professional drivers spend on average 17 hours completely alone on the roads each week. It’s little surprise, then, that almost a third (32%) of these drivers choose to battle against loneliness and poor mental health by taking their dogs on the roads with them. In fact, 19% take their dog everywhere. But exactly why are so many of the nation’s drivers dog lovers?

The benefits of a travelling canine companion
Life on the road can be a lonely place for Great Britain’s professional drivers, with 35% spending at least 20 hours in solitude every week.
However, with mental health being a key concern for large swathes of the country, drivers are turning to the ‘van man’s best friend’ to raise their spirits, with one in five (20%) saying their dogs have had a direct positive impact on their mental health.
In fact, drivers that take their dogs with them throughout their work days say they feel much happier generally (52%) and more relaxed (45%). And a third (33%) of drivers say their dog simply helps them get through the day. Considering the average driver gets stuck in congestion for up to 13 hours a day, this friendship is really making a difference.
 
A nation of dog lovers
Proving that the UK really is a nation of dog lovers, not only are 38% of road-going dogs from rescue centers, over half (53%) said their dogs have played an assisting role in generating new business with customers at least once.
 
65% of UK van drivers and operators own at least one dog, with 36% of those having more than one. Further, three in five (60%) that own a dog take their furry best friends in their vans with them. And 96% regularly speak to their dogs, further distancing themselves from the potential pitfalls commonly associated with loneliness.
 
Finally, an astounding eight in ten (80%) of dog-accompanied van owners like to accessorise their van, making it more homely for their canine chums. Water bowls (49%), blankets (48%), food bowls (39%), beds (37%) and even specially-fitted seatbelts (34%) all feature heavily.
 
Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer
The Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer is a nationwide quarterly survey of businesses large and small, created to help us understand the economic landscape and discover what van owners and drivers need to keep their business moving. For more information click here.