The white van man has taken on legendary status in the UK. Their name taken from the sorts of vehicles they drive, the self-employed owners of white vans tend to be contractors who do all kinds of work for homeowners and businesses. In fact, their commercial vehicles don’t even have to be white or vans to qualify as white van men.
How much do you know about the typical white van man? Perhaps not as much as you think. Below are some surprising facts about the men and women driving white Ford transit vans and competing models.
1. There Are a Lot of Them
As of 2014, there were roughly 2.5 million registered white vans in the UK. That accounts for one van for every 24 people. Essex had the most registrations, followed by Kent and then Lancashire. The number of vans you see on the road every day may depend on where you live and work, by the way.
Why so many commercial vehicles on the roads? Because self-employment has really taken off since the financial crisis that struck nearly ten years ago. As people lost their regular employment, many turned to self-employment instead. The number of contractors and the white vans they drive increased as a result.
2. Van Drivers Are Careful Drivers
Believe it or not, insurance statistics show that upwards of 68% of white van drivers have never had an insurance claim. We tend to think of the white van man as being reckless and careless, but that’s mainly due to sensational news reports that always look to find the worst in society to report. Van drivers are, by and large, careful drivers who really don’t like the idea of risking their livelihoods by driving recklessly.
Interestingly enough, the white van man tends to be a thinker and a consumer of information. More than half report being bookworms. They love to read, whether it is for recreational or business purposes. Think about that one for just one minute.
3. They Drive a Lot of Miles
We expect a commercial vehicle used for business purposes to travel a lot of miles. Well, they do. The average commercial van travels just over 9,400 miles per year. Van owners who work in major metropolitan areas like London and Manchester are likely to put on most of their miles in around those areas. Contractors working in more rural areas tend to have more motorway miles.
It is interesting that so many white van owners put on excessive mileage but are less likely to have insurance claims. That is further testament to the care they take behind the wheel.
4. Van Owners Prefer the Ford Transit
The Ford Transit has been a popular choice since it was first introduced. For 2016, the transit was the most preferred van in terms of total registrations. The standard Ford Transit was in second place with 29,965 registrations while the Transit Custom easily took first place with 49,744 registrations. The Ford Transit Connect was the sixth most popular van last year with 15,494 registrations.
This isn’t to say that other companies do not make good commercial vehicles as well. The Vauxhall Vivaro, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Transporter, Renault Trafic, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner all made the top 10 last year.
So there you have it. Now you know some of the more surprising facts about the white van man you may never have known before. The legion of commercial vehicle owners who traverse our roads every day provides valuable services that make all our lives better. Long live the white van man.
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