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The Notorious White Van Man

Out on our roads we encounter all kinds of drivers and situations. What seems to stick in our minds the most are the bad ones. Inconsiderate or plain unskilled driving can really get your blood boiling at times. Many of us have form numerous stereotypes for these drivers, whether through personal experience or jokes between friends.

“BMW drivers act like they own the road”

“Old age drivers are just too slow, they should re-take their tests ”

 “Young drivers in modified cars treat the road like a racetrack”

Then there is the notorious white van man. The most widely spread stereotype on UK roads has become infamous for their bad driving habits. We have all heard it but not everyone knows where it comes from, or whether it is at all justified. The tale is as old as many of us can remember, for one reason or another it has truly stuck with them.

Those who have had an encounter with Mr White Van Man have often become strong believers. Inconsiderate and sloppy driving is the most to blame. The question is, do these unfortunate encounters reflect the true nature of the majority?

Considering the facts, white van drivers are usually workmen or courier services with busy schedules and tight deadlines to meet. Many who point the finger say because they are rushing around on the roads they often drive dangerously and bend the rules to suit themselves. Those who are willing to disregard other road users for their own gain could be responsible for dragging the white van man’s reputation through the mud.

Now let’s consider what they are most commonly blamed for. Below is a list of what we can expect from a stereotypical white van menace:

  • Neglecting to use their indicators for lane changing or road junctions
  • Tailgating and driving intimating close to other road uses
  • Cutting up other road users
  • Breaking the speed limits
  • Overtaking dangerously on single carriage roads
  • Staying in the overtaking lane on motorways

These drivers will be out on the roads for the whole working everyday, often staying with their jobs for many years. With this reputation would be fair to say many would have a number of traffic violations. Yet surprisingly, recent surveys have said otherwise. The results showed that around 70% of white van drivers had not been charged with single offence in 10 years! Clearly the reign of the notorious white van is not quite as widespread as we had first believed.

Modern technology could certainly have had a large influence on van driver’s behaviour. Nowadays many companies use clever fleet management systems, allowing them to record and track their employees’ driving. Multiple factors can be monitored and alerted live including vehicle speed. As a result, offenders would face being immediately penalised if they are caught stepping out of line.

There may just be a small number of vigilante van drivers who are keeping this myth alive. However, inconsiderate driving can come from any vehicle. We must remember that the behaviour is based on people and not the vehicle and profession.

published: 25/08/2015 09:35:32

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