Destroying the white van driver myth

Destroying the white van driver myth

It’s November, and to mark mental awareness month Tradesman Saver are looking at how white van drivers are unfairly stereotyped.

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Not all heroes wear capes

On October 25th 2021, the Grimsby Telegraph reported on a random gesture of good will.

When Emma Agnew, a single working mother, pulled up to the tollbooth on the Humber Bridge she was told her toll had been paid by the driver in front.

Emma was shocked! After confirming twice with the woman in the tollbooth that this was true, she drove on to catch-up with that saint on the road.

But it was too late.

To this day, Emma has not had the chance to thank that thoughtful driver. All she knows is that her toll was paid by a man in a white van.

There are 2.5 million white van drivers in the UK. And it’s safe to say a majority of those drivers are hard-working, polite professionals, who keep the nation running.

To prove it, Tradesman Saver are here to highlight a couple of areas that have unfairly tarnished the van owner’s reputation.

Turning the white van green

Say goodbye to smily faces and finger drawn body parts on the rear door of filthy vans. And long gone are highly creative phrase like clean me and i woz ere.

The white van is cleaning up it’s act and taking things a lot more seriously than people think.

According to Fiat, 77% of van drivers take pride and joy in ensuring their vehicle is clean and tidy. One in five are vegan or vegetarian. And 66% of drivers are fed up with people thinking they live on a diet of high cholesterol and bags of Wotsits.

Van drivers are also concerned about the planet, with 91% environmentally conscious, and 35% considering an electric van as their next purchase.

Worst drivers on the road

As mentioned, there are 2.5 million white van drivers on the road, so you’re more likely to see one than any other type of vehicle.

For years, they have been burdened with the stigma that they are bad drivers. They hog the roads. Don’t know how to park. Are aggressive and abusive to other drivers. Sounds like a nightmare.

But is this true?

Before we look at some numbers, I want to encourage anyone who believes that white van owners should be banned from driving, to sit outside a school at 3:30pm.

To observe the behaviour of parents as they wait for one child in their six-seater SUV. It may shock you to see how chaotic the area around schools can be. Is this true for all parents? No.

And what about other stereotypes?

The cyclists who refuse to signal or don’t let traffic overtake safely. The elderly who can’t find the accelerator on dual carriageways. Or the speedsters who tune their engines to keep the world awake after midnight. Should we ban tractors from country roads? Phones and coffee cups form dashboards?

Fact is, if we’re prepared to point the finger at one sector of society, it’s only fair to point the same finger at all sectors of society. Bad drivers exist everywhere, regardless of what they drive or do for a living.

Now let’s look at some numbers.

There are more white van drivers in the following areas than any other part of the UK,

Essex                           Kent                           Lancashire

If we follow the stereotype that van drivers are the worst on the road, then fines and penalty points should be high in these areas, too.

But this is not the case.

Here is a list of where the worst drivers in the UK live.

Worst drivers in the UK based on penalty points received on their licence.

Source: http://blog.passmefast.co.uk/driving-law/worst-drivers-in-uk/

As you can see, Essex, Kent and Lancashire are nowhere to be seen. In fact, you may have noticed the list is dominated by places in Yorkshire.

Taking things a bit further, here are the top 5 locations where drivers have 12 points, or more, on their licence.

From here, we could split the numbers into the different types of vehicle these points were issued too. But that would move us dangerously close to making more assumptions. And it’s ignorant opinions we are trying to avoid.

In London, for example, 834 drivers have 12 or more points on their licence. We don’t know what vehicle they drive, or how they earn their living. And why should that matter? The same doesn’t apply to everyone in the same category.

In other words, if you see an inconsiderate white van driver on the road, it’s dangerous to assume all white van drivers are just as reckless.

There are good eggs and bad eggs wherever you look.

A world without white wheels

Tradesman Saver would like to take a few moments to celebrate the amazing work van drivers are doing around the UK. So, to all the fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, and brothers and sisters, who spend their days keeping the country on the right track, this ode is for you.

If all the white van drivers were taken off the road tomorrow…

There would be major delivery delays.

No organs transported to sick patients. No blood for transfusions. No medicine for hospitals.

There would be no breakdown cover.

Thousands of motorists would be stuck on the hard shoulder, wishing they’d restocked the glove box with pork pies.

People moving house would have to rely on their upper body strength to move couches and washing machines.

Broken boilers would sit idle, and cold showers would become the norm.

Leaking taps would send us loopy, and toilets wouldn’t flush.

The hole in the roof would be blocked with bin bags, the garden extension left to rot.

Bathrooms with no tiling. Windows not sealed shut.

Wood panels hanging off the walls, no nails, no bolts, no nuts.

Without white van drivers on the road, the world we know would stop.

Van driver facts and stats

To wrap things up, here are a few facts about white van drivers that may surprise you.

Most popular white van professions:

Builder               Delivery driver                Electrician             Handyman

The average distance driven each year by white van drivers in the UK is, 9426 miles.

This means they have tons of experience behind the wheel and can handle different road conditions professionally.

The average value of contents in every van is £1026.

Making it vital for van owners to install ironclad security features and protect their goods with the best tool insurance.

66% of white van drivers have no insurance claims. More evidence they are careful on the road, and can take advantage of low cost insurance cover for their sole trade or business.

More than half of drivers read on a regular basis (not while driving).

Source: https://visual.ly/community/Infographics/transportation/white-van-man-facts-stats

So, there it is! A glimpse at some misconceptions. A look at how damaging and inaccurate stereotypes can be.

Van drivers deserve the same level of respect we give all walks of life. The world would be very different without them. They would be missed.

Thank you for reading. If you’re a van driver and have been used and abused on the road, share your story below. We’re also interested to hear about your acts of kindness. What have you done to go above and beyond the call of duty.


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