White van man

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Reconstruction work on Mansfield Road, Oxford, with assorted white vans
A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, a typical white van

"White van man" is a stereotype used in the United Kingdom for a smaller-sized commercial van driver,[1] typically perceived as a selfish, inconsiderate driver who is mostly petit bourgeois and often aggressive.[2] According to this stereotype, the "white van man" is typically an independent tradesperson, such as a builder, plumber or locksmith, self-employed, or running a small enterprise,[2] for whom driving a commercial vehicle is not their main line of business, as it would be for a professional freight-driver.[3]


The first recorded use in the British press was in an article titled "Number is up for White Van Man – scourge of the road." published by The Sunday Times on 18 May 1997 written by Jonathan Leake, that paper's then-transport editor. Later in 1997, it was used by BBC Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy. She was made honorary president of the First Ford Transit Owner's Club in 2005.[4]

The Sun newspaper ran a regular "White Van Man" column for some years[when?] in which the driver of a light goods vehicle was interviewed in his van on the issues of the day. These columns were accompanied by a picture of whichever driver had been interviewed leaning out of his cab.[citation needed]

The term was used in 2010 as part of road safety campaigns by the Freight Transport Association.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ WARREN HOGE (2000-07-14). "Leatherhead Journal; The White Van Man of England: Oh, He's a Devil! – New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  2. ^ a b Leo Benedictus (2006-07-07). "The question: Can we ever love White Van Man? | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  3. ^ Shaw, Esther (25 April 2013). "Watch out for White Van Man!". Moneysupermarket.com. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  4. ^ carpages.co.uk – Ford Transit Owners Club
  5. ^ "Freight Transport Association Warns White Van Man Of Overloading Freight Dangers – Latest industry shipping news from". The Handy Shipping Guide. 2010-06-24. Retrieved 2013-08-05.

External links[edit]