Charity Calls for Van Drivers to Cover Up in the Sun
As 2020 has shaped up to be one of the hottest years on record, skin cancer charity Melanoma UK has appealed to van drivers to ensure they are adequately protected from the sun when behind the wheel over the remainder of the summer.
Many van drivers do not realise that they may be suffering overexposure to harmful UVA and UVB simply by driving their vehicles during daylight hours. This is true even when van drivers keep their windows closed. Although vehicle windows are generally quite effective at blocking out UVB rays – which are thought to be the most carcinogenic – they are less effective at blocking UVA rays, which, despite being less harmful, are still implicated in skin cancers and general sun damage to the skin.
Furthermore, Melanoma UK reported that van drivers in the UK were most at risk of right-hand side sun damage. This is because of the position of the driver on the right-hand side of the vehicle and the fact that it results in drivers experiencing direct exposure to sunlight on the right-hand-side arm, face, neck, ear and shoulder.
Half of all van drivers are oblivious to the risk, incorrectly assuming that they cannot suffer sun damage through their side windows. However, the charity reported that some do know the cost; one in five van drivers who participated in the study said they had experienced sunburn as a result of sun exposure while driving.
Worryingly, some van drivers admitted actually to increasing the risk or skin cancer, with 20% saying that they wind the window down and deliberately place their right arm on the driver side door in order to foster an asymmetric skin tone known to many as “white van man tan”.
Skin and sun safety while driving your van
Like any driver, van insurance customers should always take steps to limit their exposure to the sun’s UV rays when they are behind the wheel, particularly if they have a pale complexion, numerous moles or freckles, light-coloured eyes, or skin that is vulnerable for any other reason.
Unfortunately, only one in five van drivers who participated in the Melanoma UK survey reported regularly using sunscreen to protect themselves. However, all drivers who consistently spend daylight hours behind the wheel should wear sunscreen or cover up with long-sleeved clothing. In many cases, it may also be advisable to wear a suitable hat (particularly if your van has a sunroof) as well as sun-safe sunglasses that are also suitable for driving.
It is also advisable to also carry sunscreen in the vehicle, additional clothing and some kind of sunshade, as if you break down somewhere, it may not be possible to find nearby shade.
Choosing a sunscreen
In order to ensure adequate protection from the sun, the NHS recommends that people:
- Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more
- Choose a sunscreen that has a 4-star UVA protection rating or has the appropriate EU standard UVA mark
- Only ever use sunscreen that is in date
How to wear sunscreen
Not only is it important to apply sunscreen, it is also essential that you apply enough. The NHS recommends that adults apply two teaspoons of sunscreen if just covering the head, arms and neck – as would be typical for most van drivers.
Furthermore, if van drivers are going to be in the sun for an extended period they should apply protection 30 minutes before they go into the sun and again immediately before they go out. It should then be reapplied as often as prescribed by the product's instructions – typically every two hours.
Any driver van insurance quotes with iVan
iVan can help you obtain an any driver van insurance quote online within minutes so that you can stay covered in more ways than one.
Peugeot Van Tech Could Combat Overloading
Data from the DVSA shows that almost a quarter of vans subjected to roadside testing since 2015 are overloaded. Exceeding the maximum payload limit for a van is not only against the law, it causes an unnecessary risk for other road users because the handling and braking capabilities of the vehicle will be compromised.
DVSA data revealed that out of 44,000 roadside tests, almost 1 in 4 vans were overloaded. With 7% found to be between 25 to 30% above their payload limit.
In response to this data, Peugeot set up the Tradesman Challenge to see whether electricians or plumbers would be best at judging the load in their vans.
The stunt was largely to promote new tech available in the Peugeot Partner van, the Overload Indicator, but it conveys a serious message at the same time.
Why is overloading a van dangerous
When a van is overloaded it becomes unstable, more difficult to steer and it may take longer to stop in an emergency braking situation. The tyres may overheat and wear rapidly, and there is an increased risk of tyre failure such as blowouts.
Exceeding the maximum weight also means the van insurance will be void, so if there is an incident, you won't be covered.
You can find the 'gross vehicle weight' or 'maximum authorised mass' for your commercial vehicle on the VIN plate. This weight is the maximum that the van is allowed to register when travelling on UK roads. It includes the weight of the vehicle, the fuel in the tank , the driver and passengers, and any load being carried.
Don't overload your van
You've gone to the trouble of getting the right van, you've searched for cheap van insurance and found a great deal, and then you overload your van and you are stopped – you're likely to receive a fine or even be prosecuted.
You wouldn't drive without van insurance or an MOT so why risk making your van unsafe and illegal by overloading it?
Find out the right payload weight for your van today and then work out how much your day-to-day kit weighs, so you can make sure you stay within the limits for your van. And don't forget to include yourself and anyone else when weighing everything up.
The Peugeot Partner van's Overload Indicator makes it nice and easy to stay within your legal weight limits, but if you haven't got that piece of nifty kit, you'll need to do some swift calculations.
Has COVID-19 changed the way you use your van?
Coronavirus lockdown conditions saw many businesses needing to change the way they worked to keep afloat during the pandemic.
Some sectors, such as the restaurant industry and small retail businesses, have had to radically change their business models and this meant that many companies started undertaking deliveries or using a vehicle to transport goods and materials for work.
Making sure you have the right business vehicle insurance
If you are using a van to carry goods, deliver services, or to transport items as part of your work – building materials, food and drink, or anything you may use as part of your business – then you need to buy commercial van insurance.
When you use a van for business purposes, standard personal insurance won't cover you if you have an accident or your vehicle is stolen or broken into – even if you've got commuter cover on your personal insurance.
If you've changed the way you work, making sure you have the correct cover in place is extremely important.
Is your vehicle a van or a car?
Some family cars are classified as light commercial vehicles, so it's important you have received an insurance quote for the right type of vehicle.
Your V5C logbook will help you understand the category of your vehicle for van insurance purposes: Check out the information on line J.
- Category M1 – Car
- Category M2 – Motorhome
- Category N1 or N2 – Van
If you are using a light-commercial vehicle (category M1) or a car for business purposes, you will need to make sure you have the correct level of car insurance for business.
If you are using a van for business, you will need commercial van insurance.
What type of commercial van insurance?
If you previously used your van purely for social reasons and you now want to use it for work, even if it's just to commute in, you'll need to upgrade your private van insurance to commercial van insurance.
There are three types of commercial van insurance and the type you purchase will depend on how you intend to use your van:
- Carriage of own goods – suitable for self-employed tradespeople etc. who transport goods and tools as part of their work or who commute to a place of work in their van.
- Carriage of goods for hire or reward – for when goods are being transported for payment such as couriers and food deliveries.
- Haulage – this covers drivers who travel longer distances for single deliveries.
Who will be driving your van?
Standard commercial van insurance allows one person and any named drivers on the insurance policy to be able to drive the van.
If you need more flexibility or you're unsure which members of your team will need to drive the van in the future, any driver van insurance means you won't need to name individuals when taking out your insurance or make costly amendments to the policy if your needs change.
There may be certain restrictions in place, such as minimum age limits (some insurers won't cover drivers under the age of 25 or 21) and almost all any driver van insurance policies will require that drivers have a clean driving licence.
Changing times for businesses
Coronavirus has definitely dealt a blow to many small businesses, but the ingenious and determined nature of many SMEs and sole-proprietors has meant they have changed the way they work in order to keep trading.
Almost all changes come with provisos and commercial van use is no exception. If you have changed the way you use your van, give iVan a call today to make sure you're getting the best deal on your commercial van insurance and any driver van insurance today.
COVID-19 Impact on Commercial Vehicle Businesses
Like most businesses and industries, the commercial vehicle sector has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial vehicle hours on the road
You could be forgiven for thinking that commercial vehicles and their travel might not have been too badly affected by lockdown restrictions, after all, delivery drivers kept on delivering, but new data from Verizon Connect tells a different story.
From mid-February and into April the number of hours spent on the roads by commercial vehicle drivers went down by more than 50%, so the figures suggest.
The data, provided anonymously, showed that commercial drivers in France were hardest hit during lockdown with their recorded hours falling by 58%. In the UK that figure was down by 55% and in Spain down by 54%.
However, it seems that commercial vehicles in Germany did not suffer as much, with their hours on the road down by just 11%.
Thankfully, the bounce-back began as soon as lockdown measures began to ease. In France there was a 200% increase in commercial traffic between April 7 and May 5. While in the UK the same period saw only a small increase in commercial traffic hours by 22% over the same period.
Commercial vehicle production still suffering
Despite the uptick in hours spent on the road by van drivers and their vehicles, the UK commercial vehicle manufacturing industry is still feeling the considerable effects of the pandemic.
Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) commercial vehicle production in the UK fell by 61.6% in May – that's just 810 new vehicles coming off the production lines. The year-to-date figures are similarly grim: commercial vehicle output was down by almost 30% over the first five months of 2020 when compared with 2019.
Van insurance and coronavirus
It goes without saying that, if you decided to SORN your commercial vehicle during lockdown in order to reduce your van insurance payments, and you are now out about in your van again, you will need to reinstate tax and commercial vehicle cover.
If you did not halt your van insurance cover, your insurance provider may be willing to make adjustments to your policy either by reducing your annual mileage and recalculating the price of your policy or by reimbursing you for reduced mileage during the lockdown.
Contact your insurance provider to ask if they are making any adjustments.
And for a new van insurance quote or any driver van insurance quote contact iVan today.
Working from your van during the coronavirus pandemic
The Government has issued guidance for people who work from their vehicles, including any van drivers, couriers, lorry drivers, mobile drivers and others who use a commercial vehicle on a day-to-day basis.
Business owners will need to manage the risk associated with coronavirus and, for many van drivers, this will mean thinking carefully about how they can minimise the risks both while in their vans and once they reach the site where they'll be carrying out their work.
Keeping the risks down in a van
If you must share your van with another person, keeping to the 2m distancing guidance is probably impossible. However, there are measures you can take if there is no other way for you to work. Thankfully, one of the pieces of guidance is that if you cannot remain 2m apart, side-by-side working is preferable, so, sitting next to someone as you drive should mean the risk is reduced.
Hygiene measures will need to be top of your list of priorities, including hand washing/sanitising, surface cleaning, and clearing rubbish and belongings out of the van. Keeping antibacterial wipes and cleaning products in your van is a positive step and cleaning should be carried out regularly.
If the van is shared between drivers, the above measures are especially important.
If you must work with another person or persons, the guidance is that risks can be reduced by reducing the number of people each person must come into contact with – this might mean using partnering and fixed-team methods (so each person works with as few others as possible).
Safe deliveries and collections
f you are a delivery driver or your work involves the movement of goods and materials the government advises trying to avoid busy times at despatch centres and drop-off/pick-up points and, wherever possible, staying in your vehicle.
The advice to facilities managers has been to enable contactless payments and increase the use of electronic documentation as much as possible, and to reduce the number of people involved in any handover of goods etc.
PPE and face coverings
Anyone already using PPE in their work activity to protect against risks and non-coronavirus-related hazards, should continue to do so.
A face covering can be worn in an enclosed space (such as a van cab) and can be a simple cloth covering that goes over the nose and mouth. Face coverings must be washed after every shift if they are to be re-used.
Main points for van drivers
The government advises that wherever possible you should:
- minimise contact with other people
- clean vehicles inside and out regularly; including keys, door handles, fuel caps, steering wheel and all manual controls
- wash/sanitise hands regularly
- uphold social distancing measures wherever possible
- agree collection and delivery procedures in advance and try to avoid busy times
- utilise contactless transactions whenever possible
The full guidance can be downloaded from the Gov.UK website.
Online van insurance quotes with iVan
Thankfully, getting an iVan any driver van insurance quote can be achieved online without the need for any face-to-face contact, so you can be sure that you stay covered, get a cheap van insurance deal and minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19 all at the same time.