Thanks to our love of online shopping and a rise in self-employment, there are more vans whizzing along British roads than ever before, and over half (2.5m) of these 4.1 million registered vehicles is the prevalent white van. With the Ford Transit van maintaining the lead as the ‘King of the Road’. Despite the growing popularity of white vans, 69% of Britons still believe the selfish, aggressive, laddish stereotype behaviour of the ‘White Van Man Driver’ from the 90’s is still pervasive in our modern culture.
A third (33%) of British adults believes that white van drivers are the worst drivers on Britain’s roads and 42% report they are arrogant and rude.
Interestingly over half (55%) of white van drivers report that this out-dated ‘White Van Driver’ stereotype behaviour was scrapped a long time ago and the modern driver is a lot more conscious and invested in their health, wellbeing, reputation and career. These findings have been revealed in a new study out today by Travelodge.
With UK construction making a solid return and with the rise in e-commerce making delivery drivers the new front of house, Travelodge has experienced a surge in blue collar workers and delivery drivers staying at its 578 UK hotels this year. Interestingly these Road Warriors like to drive a white van and as the white van has become the backbone of the UK economy Travelodge has conducted research with 1,000 white van drivers and 2,000 British adults to obtain an updated perspective on British ‘White Van Drivers’
Key findings from the research revealed although the traditional ‘White Van Man Driver’ first coined in 1977 has been symbolic for four decades for being selfish, inconsiderate and aggressive, 55% of white van drivers feel this stereotype image associated with white van drivers is totally out-dated, and Britons are completely out of touch on how these van drivers have changed over the years.
The report also revealed that 57% of Britons don’t know that a 34% of van drivers in the UK are actually women.
Research findings also revealed that writing on a dirty white van is a thing of the past as 75% of white van drivers report taking great pride in their van and that a clean van makes them more productive and a better driver. Over a third (35%) of drivers also reported that they have the upmost respect for their work vehicle and a third of van drivers treat their van to a monthly valet.
A fifth (20%) of respondents also reported that the harsh “white van man’” stereotype only exists in the UK.
The research also revealed that the modern white van driver has ditched their stereotypical lifestyle of greasy spoon and junk food cuisine in favour of healthy eating and regular trips to the gym. Over a third (37%) of white van drivers take a healthy packed lunch to work with them every day. The top breakfast for white van drivers is cereal with fresh fruit and a salad for lunch.
However one thing that has not changed is a strong builder’s brew with 60% of white van drivers drinking on average four mugs of tea during their working day. Over a third (37%) of drivers also reported that they stay hydrated during the working day by drinking bottled water and a quarter like to have a Diet Coke moment during their day. Whilst one in ten white van drivers likes to drink green tea during the day.
With more than half of British white van drivers spending on average 10 hours a week in their vans and clocking nearly 10,000 miles annually (Which equates to driving the length of the UK 12 times). More than half of white van driver’s tune into the radio to keep them entertained whilst driving, with BBC Radio 2 being the top channel to listen to followed by Heart, Capital, Classic FM, Rock and Jazz.
A quarter of white van drivers enjoy listening to a book whilst driving and 20% relish an interesting Ted talk or podcast.
With white van drivers sending so much time on the road, taking regular exercise is key, on average (45%) van drivers will exercise up to four times a week.
During the working day, a quarter of white van drivers still prefer to get their dose of news via reading a newspaper. Nearly half of van drivers have alerts set on their mobile for news alerts from news websites and a third (33%) regularly check their social media channels for updates.
Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokeswoman said: “We have been providing accommodation to Road Warriors since we opened our first UK hotel on the A38 in 1985. Over the last three decades, we have experienced different trends and variations of Road Warriors staying at our 578 hotels. However the white van driver customer has been consistent and grown from strength to strength in line with market trends. We have also seen the customer profile of the white van driver gradually change over the decades and in response we have added healthier food options to our Bar Café menu. This year with the solid return of construction and our love for on-line shopping we are seeing more white van drivers staying at our hotels.”
Further research findings revealed that 36% of white van drivers who regularly stay away for work like to leave their hotel room clean and tidy. A quarter (25%) of drivers carry framed images of their partner, children or pet and 16% of drivers always pack their teddy bear to keep them company on trips away from home.
The table below details how the white van driver has changed over the last three decades
The 1990’s Stereotype
The 2021 Reality
Nasty and Neglected
Pristine and Proud
Male Drivers Only
Male and Female Drivers
Fast Food Addict
Health Food Guru
A Coach Potato
A Gym Junkie
A Brick Layer
A Key Worker
Lazy and Part Time
A Business Owner and A Boss
For further information, please contact the Travelodge Press Office on:
T: 01844 35 8703