Five essential apps for van drivers

Transport and logistics

26 June 2017

There's an app for everything, including some really useful ones to help your van-based business run smoothly.

It's illegal to use a smartphone while you're driving, so if you need to open an app or check your messages, always park safely first. Not only is using a handheld device while driving (or stopped at traffic lights) extremely dangerous, it can land you in hot water with the law. You can receive six penalty points on your licence plus a £200 fine, and could be taken to court and banned from driving completely.

So if you’re all parked up and it’s safe to do so, here are five types of app every van driver should install on their phone.

Satellite navigation

The days of needing a dedicated sat nav system, or an encyclopaedic knowledge of your town's streets, are a thing of the past. Sat nav apps are now extremely advanced, and will read out directions so you don't need to take your eyes off the road. You don't have to splash out on these apps, as the free Google Maps app includes this function.

Some apps, such as Waze, draw upon real-time traffic information to warn you of any jams or roadworks. If you're using sat nav on your phone, it's best to secure it to your dashboard with a holder. This way you can see the map data without taking your hands off the wheel, and without breaking the law.

Parking payment

PayByPhone and RingGo remove the fuss from parking in metered bays. They allow you to pay for your parking from your mobile phone, so you don't need to worry about carrying cash. These apps also send an alert when your time is almost up, and you can top up instantly, which means you can get on with your business and not waste time sprinting to and from the meter.

Parking space finder

Apps for finding parking spaces take the stress out of searching for somewhere to leave your van for the day. AppyParking (voted the UK's best parking app for 2016 by Auto Express) shows on- and off-street parking spaces in London and 11 other British cities. Spaces are colour coded so you can see how expensive it is to park there. The app also has information about parking hours, so you won't end up popping coins in the meter only to find out that you can park for free that day. Parkopedia, Just Park and ParkRight all have similar functionality.


Dashcam apps record what's happening on the road ahead of you. Although you're not likely to want to scroll through reams of footage once you get home, it can be useful in capturing evidence of dangerous driving. Dashcams can help you to sort out insurance disputes, as they can enable you to prove that an accident wasn't your fault.

Fax from phone

Some corporate customers continue to request faxes, which can be frustrating for van drivers – a fax machine won't plug into the cigarette lighter. There are numerous apps available that make sending faxes from a smartphone easy. FaxFile, eFax, and TinyFax are a few to look out for.

For more information about what upgrades and improvements could be available for your van in the future, take a look at our guide to the fleet of the future.