It’s perfectly natural to feel a slight sense of terror when you see a white van looming in your rear-view mirror. After all, the UK has been raised on a thousand and one stories of aggressive van drivers tailing an inch behind the car in front just for the sheer hell of it.
In fact, well over half of all motorists – of 54% to be precise – are under the impression that van drivers aren’t nearly as careful as they should be. A recent study carried out by the RAC however apparently argues quite to the contrary.
According to the results of a new RAC survey, 57% of drivers across Great Britain believe that van drivers are fully deserving of their rather dodgy reputation. Just over 1,200 drivers were polled for the study and it came to light that the UK as a whole is a pretty ‘vanophobic’ nation – something the RAC thinks it’s about time to put a stop to.
Rather than simply working with tall-tales from drivers with a distaste for white van men, the RAC instead looked into real-life accident statistics from government files. And when all the data had been pulled together, it turned out that van drivers aren’t in fact any more prone to being involved in collisions than standard car drivers – both came out in the sub-1% region.
Even more interestingly, the RAC found that when it comes to frequency of accidents, it’s actually the van drivers that come out on top. Back in 2012, just one out of every 261 vans was involved in some kind of reported accident, while the figure for standard cars was closer to one in 146. On the whole, 197,388 accidents were reported involving the 28.7 million cars on the road, while just 12,575 van-related accidents were reported of the 3.3 million vans doing the rounds.
Right at the bottom of the table came the nation’s trust coaches and buses, which recorded an alarming accident rate of one for every 26 vehicles – there were 6,318 accidents for just 166,297 coaches and buses on the road. Or to put it another way, every bus and coach out there has a 4% chance of coming a cropper to one extent or another!
Back with van drivers though, the RAC went about the study to see if there was any genuine justification for the nation’s near-universal negative opinions of van drivers.
“Our research clearly paints us as a nation of ‘vanophobes’ which seems harsh when you look at the accident statistics and see both van and car drivers have the same statistical chance of being involved in an accident,” said RAC Van Insurance spokesperson Simon Williams.
“In fact, you could argue that van drivers are less likely to have an accident as one in 146 car drivers will have an accident compared to one in 261 van drivers.”
Still, most of us (54%) did at least admit that van drivers are important for the overall economy – despite the fact we seem to assume they’re driven like they’re stolen.
“Van drivers – plumbers, builders, electricians, plasterers and delivery drivers – are the life-blood of the economy and yet motorists continue to hold this opinion, regardless of their driving experiences.”
“This judgement seems a little unfair which is why we think it’s time to give van drivers a bit of a break as well as some recognition for their significant contribution to the economy.”
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