How to survive the festive period as a courier driver

‘Tis the season to be jolly. But for courier drivers, Christmas is also the season where stress levels run extremely high.
Why? Well, simply because December is the busiest and therefore the most stressful time of year (along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Predictions from online retail association IMRG, cited by the BBC, suggested that a whopping 387 million parcels were delivered in the UK between November and December last year; a 13% increase on figures from 2017.

This year, it wouldn’t be surprising if those numbers increased even more – and it’s all down to the couriers to make sure those parcels are delivered safely and in time for the big day.
Couriers often see their workloads increasing two, even three-fold, this season. No doubt you’ll have to work many extra and unsociable hours to see that all of the parcels are delivered and that your customers are kept happy.
What’s important is that you don’t work yourself so hard you suffer from the notorious festive burnout. To help, we’ve compiled some top tips that’ll help you to survive this Christmas as a courier driver.

First things first: check your cover

If you own your own courier business, you want to make sure you’re protected this festive season with courier insurance.

After all, more time on the road, long hours and contending with often poor weather conditions could increase the chance of accidents, breakdowns or other mishaps.
The Insurance Factory can provide you with courier insurance that matches your exact needs and requirements. Cover options include goods in transit, delivery insurance, hire and reward and van courier insurance.
A silver van travelling along a motorway in the evening

Organisation is key

Proper planning prevents… a Christmas meltdown (and we’re not talking about snow)!

A bigger workload requires more planning; though that may seem like a tough task with the limited spare time you have, it’s essential in making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Here are some pointers that will help:
  • Plan your routes well in advance (at least the night before) so you have your entire day mapped out from the start.
  • Utilise online tools and websites to plan your delivery routes in the most efficient way.
  • Always have a back-up plan – the roads are extremely busy during the festive season and there’s a good chance you’ll be forced to make a few detours on your delivery trips.
  • Leave with plenty of time to spare each morning to keep stress levels at a minimum.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of deliveries and mark off as you go to ensure that no customer is missed.

Stay fuelled

In the same way your courier van can’t operate with fuel, you can’t be expected to be on top form if you don’t fuel your body.

Always make time for breakfast – opting for something like porridge or fruit and granola will help to slowly release energy through the morning and make sure you don’t suffer the notorious mid-morning slump.

Pack your glovebox full of healthy snacks, like fruit and nuts, and always stop and eat lunch.
Similarly, you need to stay hydrated throughout the day. Don’t be tempted to drink less because you’re worried about loo stops – your body and brain need plenty of water and dehydration can be quite dangerous on the road.

Avoid too many caffeinated drinks as they can make you feel sluggish once the initial buzz has worn off.

Keep warm

It’s easy to get very cold very quickly when you’re outside delivering in sub-zero temperatures, rain, wind and potentially snow.

You don’t want to catch a cold for Christmas, so make sure you wrap up in thick layers whenever you venture outside.

It might be a little annoying having to remove and put on layers as you get in and out of the van, but it’ll be worth it if it keeps you fighting fit during the festive period.
A man in winter clothing assessing the snow on his van

Safety first

Delivering over Christmas is likely to involve a lot of driving in poor weather, and a lot of delivering in the dark. Heed these tips:
  • Check weather and traffic updates every morning so you have a clear idea of what you’ll be dealing with that day.
  • Give your van a once-over before setting off each morning – ensuring things like the tyres, lights and wipers are working and are in tip-top condition.
  • Pack yourself an emergency kit just in case you get stuck. This should include things like water and snacks, a blanket, charged spare mobile phone, ice scraper/de-icer, hand warmers and a folding shovel.
  • Always wear high-vis when delivering at nighttime or in poor weather conditions.
  • If possible, park your van in well-lit areas during deliveries, for instance underneath street lamps.

Break often

Driving for a living can be extremely demanding. You can’t expect to be able to focus all day long without taking a break, and actually trying to push through without a rest could be very dangerous.

It could cause you to lose concentration behind the wheel or lead you to make poor decisions or develop road rage.
A break means getting out of your van, stretching your legs, getting some fresh air and maybe having a snack or lunch. A break doesn’t mean scoffing a sandwich or drinking a coffee-to-go behind the wheel.
While you might be shattered come the end of your longer-than-usual shift, it’s important to spend half an hour or so winding down.

Rather than have dinner and straight to bed, go for a short walk (if the weather isn’t too bad), listen to a podcast or read a book, or enjoy a hot bath – after all, you deserve it!
Hopefully, these tips will help to keep you safe and sane this festive period. Don’t forget to get in touch with the Insurance Factory about our courier insurance.

We’ll take the time to understand the unique needs of your courier business, before finding you a suitable policy from our specially-chosen panel of expert insurers – all for a price that’s right.
Get a free, no-obligation quote today – and Merry Christmas!