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 Mercedes-Benz Business Barometer explores this growing trend.

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.