Driving a van is a line of work that deserves every bit of respect. Professional drivers spend hours and hours stuck behind the wheel, away from their families for weeks or months. When you have that much time to spend only with yourself, not being able to do anything else but drive, you want to find creative ways to make that experience more enjoyable.
Let’s start with comfort
- Use thermal insulation sheets! Not only do they keep the heat inside your van, but they stop the chilled air entering. When you are not driving, put heat shields on your windows to keep the heat in. An average of 5 gallons is required to run the engine of a van for only heating purposes.
- Use a memory foam seat cushion. If you already have a cushion, don’t use it for the first half of your long haul when you’re fresh. Using it after will help make the second half more comfortable.
- Organize your space. Keep the small but important things within reaching distance. Fix things like, phone holders, mug-holders, and water bottles to your dashboard.
- Utilities trucking apps. Technology is a lifesaver, use it! Want best route ideas, information about low bridges, public facilities, eating points, and road assistance…. There is an app for that and it’s most likely free.
- Music, podcasts, lectures, audiobooks… Entertainment is your best friend when you’re all alone and following along a route. Listening to something you like will not only help the time pass by but also keep you awake when you feel tired.
- White Vinegar! Nothing I hate more than getting into my vehicle and having the windshield fog up on me. I’m one of those people that turn the dials trying to fix it, only for it to fog up more. Use a wipe or tissue paper and apply a thin coat of white vinegar to the inside of your windshield. It’s like magic!
Health and Hygiene Hacks
- Get yourself a portable dual fuel stove. Your taste buds may like the taste of spices and other junk foods, but believe me, your digestion system hates it. Bring food from home or cook it yourself on your stove. Save your health and your money.
- Keep a boot brush behind the driver’s seat. Always give your shoes a quick cleaning before entering your van.
- Keep unscented wipes and hand sanitizer with you.After the last few years we’ve had this probably goes without saying. Always sanitize your hands before you eat something. Your job is hard enough, let’s not make it worse with an upset stomach causing frequent stops.
- Get a small trash can and secure it within reach. Having it within a reach of a hand will make sure those wrappers and empty water bottles find their way into the trash and not on your van floor.
- Stay Hydrated. No coffee and energy drinks don’t count. Trust me, I checked. Always have extra water in your van. Set goals for yourself to drink the required amount each day.
- Exercise is a must! Your career cannot be an excuse to neglect your health. Even astronauts exercise in space. If Neal Armstrong could workout on his way to the moon, you can squeeze in some exercise on your way to Colorado. Get a gym membership or get rid of your passenger seat and have an exercise bike installed in its place.
- Keep a spare key on you at all times. We’ve had multiple drivers throughout the years misplace their keys. We’ve even had a driver literally break his key in half attempting to unlock it! I don’t understand that last one either. Trust me, you don’t need the experience of trapezing through a truck stop in Nebraska praying to God you find the keys you’ve misplaced. Prevent that by keeping a spare key on you at all times.
- Get vehicle escape tools. Okay, I might be making up terminology here, but despite its name, it’s a real thing. Window breakers and seat belt cutters and designed to help you quickly get out of your vehicle whether it’s underwater or on fire.
- Install a dash cam. Along with providing evidence in case of an accident, these cameras can be set to turn on when motion is detected around your van. Whether its an attempted breakin, vandalism, or a hit and run incident, you’ll be glad you have the recording.
- Most Dangerous time to drive is dusk, morning from 2am to 5pm. Try to avoid driving during that time. If you cannot, make sure you stay alert.
- Be defensive, not aggressive. Every life is precious, including that buffoon that cut you off back at mile mark eight. Defensive driving involves being prepared for anything and being ready to react to other drivers, especially the terrible ones. As a defensive driver, you can avoid crashes and help lower your risk behind the wheel. Remember someone is waiting for you at home, and they want you in their lives not their memories.
- Be prepared. Keep the following with you; a tool kit, flairs, triangles, rain suit, and even a torch are a must.