White van men do not deserve to be the butt of seemingly never ending jokes about selfish driving habits as they are not as bad behind the wheel as other motorists believe, says the RAC.
The motoring organisation claims other drivers are worked up about nothing, as research shows the infamous white van man is no worse on the road than anyone else.
The RAC asked other road users for their opinions about white van drivers and then compared the results with official accident statistics from the Department of Transport.
The study revealed almost 60% of other motorists believed van drivers deserved their bad reputation and more than half felt they displayed less care behind the wheel than other road users.
However, the official statistics disproved the claims by showing both van and car drivers have the same probability of having a reportable road accident.
In fact, says the RAC, the figures disclosed that only one in 261 vans had a reportable road accident in 2012, while one in 146 car drivers were involved in a reportable accident.
A reportable accident is one involving:
- Injury or damage to property other than the vehicle driver
- Injury to an animal not in the vehicle
- Damage to another vehicle
- Damage to property alongside the road,, like a wall or traffic island
What the statistics did show was buses and coaches are more likely to have a reportable accident – the chances are rated at one in 26, while heavy goods lorries had a one in 68 chance.
On the upside, the study also showed that 54% of car drivers felt vans played an important role in the economy and 15% considered white van men had an undeserved reputation.
A hard core 3% of car drivers said whatever van drivers did to improve their driving; they would still have a bad opinion of them.
“White van man is associated with bad driving, but the statistics do not bear out that belief,” said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.
Read more about our attitude to white van man