A survey of van drivers in the UK has found they have an unexpected way to hold off feelings of loneliness.
Almost half of UK van drivers surveyed take their dog on the road with them. If this statistic holds true for all van drivers in the UK, on any one day there could be more than 200,000 vans with a furry friend riding along inside.
Driving for a living can be a lonely occupation. Drivers spend on average over 17 hours by themselves each day, with as many as 35% spending at least 20 hours alone. And up to 13 hours a day could be spent stuck in traffic.
All of this can obviously take a toll on a driver’s mental health, but over half of the drivers surveyed said taking their dog with them makes them happier. One in five agreed their canine companion had a positive effect on their mental health in the long run.
52% of drivers that took their dog along for the ride said it made them feel happier, while 45% felt more relaxed. And 53% believed their dog was helpful when it came to attracting new business.
The UK really is full of dog lovers, with 65% of van drivers owning at least one dog, and 36% of those owning more than one. 38% of the dogs that accompany their owners on the road came from rescue centres.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “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.
“However, it’s 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 both the driver and the dog are safe and secure.
“I wish I could take Gilbert, my Westie, to work with me!”
Check out our guide on travelling with a pet in your vehicle for safety tips.