Van drivers play a crucial role in the UK economy, delivering goods and services to businesses and consumers alike. However, beyond the financial pressures they face, a significant number of these drivers are confronted with challenges that affect their health and wellbeing. Work-related stress, negative behaviour from other motorists, feelings of loneliness, and subpar working conditions are among the factors taking a growing toll on commercial drivers’ well-being. In this article, we explore the stresses faced by UK van drivers and suggest potential solutions to address some of the issues.
Work related stress
The demanding nature of the job can often lead to work-related stress for van drivers. Tight schedules, traffic congestion, and the pressure to meet delivery targets all contribute to stress levels. Long hours on the road, combined with the expectation of maintaining high levels of productivity, can negatively impact both physical and mental health. It is crucial to tackle work-related stress to improve the overall well-being of van drivers.
Van drivers often encounter negative behaviour from other road users, including aggressive driving, impatience, and lack of courtesy. Such experiences can lead to heightened stress levels and impact emotional well-being. Promoting a culture of respect and awareness among all road users, including specific educational campaigns targeting professional drivers, can help mitigate these issues. If you’re suffering from road rage, try putting it into perspective before each shift; take 5 or 10 minutes before setting off to breathe some fresh air; fill a cold-water drinking bottle and pack a snack; listen to your favourite radio station and set off with a positive attitude. When your mind is positive the idiots seem less important!
The nature of the job, with many hours spent alone on the road, can contribute to feelings of loneliness especially amongst long-distance drivers. Extended periods of isolation can negatively impact mental health and overall well-being. Employers can implement measures to address this issue, such as regular check-ins, fostering a sense of community among drivers through team-building activities, and providing access to support networks and resources.
If you’re a van driver pulling into a motorway service station head for the dedicated lorry park and make a conscious effort to pass a few pleasantries with the staff and other drivers, who will probably also be alone and appreciate an ice-breaking hello. A friendly smile or nod is internationally recognised.
Poor working conditions
Many van drivers face inadequate working conditions, such as uncomfortable seating, insufficient rest breaks, and limited access to sanitary facilities. These factors can contribute to physical discomfort and impact the overall health of drivers. Employers should prioritise the provision of comfortable working environments, ensure regular breaks are provided, and address any concerns related to health and safety.
If you cover the same route regularly make it a priority to find handy cafes with toilet facilities and try to take regular breaks to stretch your legs and relax your eyes if needed.
Driving solutions for employers
Employers should provide comprehensive training and support programmes that address the physical and mental challenges faced by van drivers. These could include stress management techniques, defensive driving strategies, and techniques to promote mental well-being.
Peer support networks
Establishing peer support networks or forums where van drivers can connect with and support each other can help combat feelings of loneliness and provide an avenue for sharing experiences and coping strategies.
Employers should foster open lines of communication with their drivers, allowing them to voice concerns, seek assistance, and provide feedback on working conditions. Regular team meetings and feedback sessions can be useful in creating a supportive work environment.
Implementing initiatives that promote driver well-being, such as access to counselling services, health check-ups, and wellness programmes, can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of van drivers. Implementing solutions that prioritise driver well-being will not only improve their quality of life but also contribute to safer and more efficient road transport operations.
If you are in need of a van for rental, we have a selection available at CVS Van Hire. Get in touch with our team to find out more about the possibilities we can provide.