Belfast Telegraph

Beware White Van Man, for I've got your number

By Claire Harrison

What is it about White Van Man that he insists on living up to his name as the inconsiderate pig of the road? Every morning I sit on one of the main commuter routes into Belfast and fume as drivers whizz down the bus lane, completely fearless of getting caught.

Meanwhile, thousands of us sit in the correct lane, playing by the rules, engines overheating, and being late for work. (And before some righteous public transport advocate starts harping, I'm not listening).

So who is the biggest offender in this bus lane banditry? Why, it's White Van Man, of course. One morning this week, I saw not one but three WVM causing chaos by nipping in and out of the traffic with abandon.

Not once did I see an indicator, not once did I see any consideration shown to the actual rules of the road. The only joy I got was hemming one in when he flew down the bus lane and then tried to pull back out in front of me when confronted with an actual real life bus in the bus lane (you do occasionally see one in there). But he wasn't quick enough.

I hope he could hear my cackling as I eased along two inches behind the car in front so there wasn't a mission of him getting out without taking the nose off my car. I suspect he did if his gesticulation was anything to go by. That's the joy of driving an old banger, you can take on more expensive cars.

The only driver more annoying than WVM is SUV mum. You know the type I'm talking about. The yummy mummy who lives in the city, drives no more than three miles to the school gates and back every day but still thinks she needs a 4x4 capable of climbing Everest.

When she's not blocking traffic picking up her kids from school, she's lurching along, unsuccessfully trying to control her mammoth car while adjusting her Chanel sunglasses. Oh hang on, maybe flashy older man is more annoying, given the extra arrogance factor he brings to the roads?

You must know him too, middle-aged silver-fox-type, driving a sleek Beemer with personalised number plates? He likes to tailgate you on motorways if you get in the way of his attempt to hit the ton.

He's particularly aggressive towards the likes of me, a woman in a small car. He never gesticulates, he remains steely-faced as he tries to drive you off the road.

I don't mind the personalised number plates so much, especially when they advertise the silver fox's business. Because then you can track him down and leave a strongly-worded message with his secretary when she refuses to put you through.

You can also offer to ring the police and report the car stolen when she tries to tell you it's sitting in the company car park and couldn't possibly have been seen behaving badly. I won't name and shame the businessman I did that to here – but I will the next time he does it.

So you've got the gist by now – I'm an easily annoyed driver. I'm annoyed by people actually living up to their stereotypes, more than the bad driving. There are lots of stereotypes I don't believe in. It's clearly a myth that women are bad drivers. All evidence points to the fact that we are the safer species to be behind a wheel.

I'm sure there are many owners of white vans who drive perfectly within the law, there are older businessmen who drive like nuns, and there may well be yummy mummys out there who don't feel the need to drive a stupid big car, but overall someone's letting your side down. There's a good reason why you've got a bad name.

So, come on White Van Man, shut me up and get your chassis out of the bus lane. And please make sure you use your indicator when you do it. (It's the first stick from the top, to the right of your steering wheel).

Belfast Telegraph


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