Van drivers are not known for their healthiness and clean eating! However, things are changing. A recent study, commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle, has found that Britain’s van drivers are ditching their stereotypical lifestyle in favour of healthy eating and regular trips to the gym. According to the research, the average van driver now works out twice a week, with more than 10% heading to the gym at least 5 times a week. Moreover, instead of grabbing junk food from the local service station, 1 in 7 are making their own packed lunch.
A spokesman for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said: “This research seems to show that nowadays, van drivers are leading a much healthier lifestyle than you might expect.
“Rather than grabbing whatever they can while out on the road, they are tucking into homemade lunches of salad and fruit – a far cry from the food you might expect them to be eating.”
Here are our top tips for staying healthy when on the road:
- Find a comfortable driving position. It should be flexible and suited to your body. Bad driving positions can result in repetitive driving injuries such as foot cramp, lower back pain, neck pain and even headaches. With van drivers spending longer behind the wheel, and driving longer distances, it is important to get this right and the place to start is by adjusting your seat. Make sure you also adjust your head rest and take your wallet and anything else out of your back pocket. The best advice is to take regular breaks from driving and use those breaks to stretch.
- Eat small regular meals and make sure you stay well-hydrated. Dehydration can severely impact your concentration levels, as can hunger! However, a large, high-calorie meal can leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy. Avoid fast food and take your own. Fruit, water (in a sports bottle so you don’t have to unscrew a cap while driving!), bagged carrots, nuts and low-sugar cereal bars are all better than a bar of chocolate and a fizzy drink.
- It is easy to feel stressed on our roads. The volume of traffic alone is enough to leave you feeling frustrated, particularly if you have a delivery to make by a certain deadline. Apart from making sure you take regular breaks, getting enough sleep before driving and eating and drinking well, tips from the experts include using mindfulness (focusing on your breathing, in particular) and using a technique called “commentary driving”. The latter involves scanning the road ahead and saying out loud what you see. As your brain is occupied with processing what you are observing and turning that into language (which doesn’t have to be clean if you are driving alone with the windows closed!), there will be no room for the emotional side to take over. An additional benefit is that you will have better awareness of the road and other road users.
- Get your eyes tested regularly (experts advise every 2 years). Research shows that failing to ensure your vision is good enough to drive is enormously risky and is estimated to result in almost 3000 road casualties a year. It is particularly important for van drivers who tend to spend longer on the road.
- A van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK – with van tool theft up by 30% as of April 2017. Becoming a victim of a van break-in can cost you a lot of money to replace your stolen or damaged tools and even your van – not forgetting the money you will lose if the incident leaves you unable to work for a period of time. A-Plan’s friendly and helpful advisors understand how important it is to find the right cover to protect van drivers’ livelihoods. We have specialist knowledge of this market and a range of schemes tailored for van drivers. Give your local branch a call today.