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White Van Man

551 of 1160 nominations


White Van Man

Is this an icon?


White Van Man

2007 will be an important anniversary for those of us who enjoy England’s roads. It’s ten years since the first sighting of the phenomenon we call White Van Man. Urban life hasn’t been the same since...

In England's cities, WVM is the self-consecrated King of the Road. He (it’s always a ‘he’, of course) drives his van fast and ferociously, taking no prisoners in his war on other drivers who may be in his way, as well as pedestrians, cyclists, innocent bystanders, small children, lollipop-ladies, etc. All the while hurling sailor-blushing insults and angrily brandishing his rolled-up tabloid at anyone else unforgivably presuming to trespass on his tarmac.

But how many of us don’t have a little bit of WVM in us? Haven’t you ever had to bite your tongue to stop yourself telling the nice man in the car in front of you just what you think of his sudden lane-changes? Haven’t you ever given the learner driver who keeps stalling at the junction just a little bit of an engine-rev to let them know that you have no intention of being late for your important date? Come on now, be honest.

Studies on the subject of the WVM (yes, there have been studies) have tried to demonstrate that the stereotype is unfair. They claim that in reality most White Van Men are gallant, courteous drivers, with all the time in the world to let you by with a cheery smile and rather quaint, squeaky-clean vocabulary. But popular opinion doesn’t recognise this description. Quite the contrary, most people feel as though there are ever increasing numbers out there, right across England, flying the WVM flag. Ah, it makes you proud...

Photo: Alex Laurie


Your comments

England's roads are ruled by the white van man. If a man's home is his castle, then his van is his battleship, office and soapbox.

Chester Omana

Another nomination which is NOT exclusively English!!!!

They are everywhere, we've all encountered them, been intimidated and infuriated by them.
Alan Gatter

View All Comments (2)



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye