'WHITE VAN MAN' WALKS FREE FROM DRIVING 'CHARGE'
DELIVERY DRIVERS don't have it easy. The so-called 'white van man' is derided - even despised - by other road users, with perceptions of poor conduct and overtly aggressive road manners.
Yet, whether the van be driven by male or female, whether it be any colour of the rainbow - or even white, these unsung heroes of the commercial world have been found 'not guilty' of causing a disproportionate number of accidents or being involved in more incidents on the road than the law of averages dictates. A recent research report by the AA Motoring Trust, Running a Van Fleet, says so.
The report also offers wise safety advice across a broad range of topics, and mentions tyre condition as a key element. However, as responsible retailers of the best value van tyres across Europe, we'd like to expand on the tyre topic with some advice specifically for those driving or operating car-derived or purpose designed vans up to 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight. That includes machines like the Vauxhall Astravan, Peugeot Partner, Ford Transit, LDV Maxus, IVECO Daily and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter you'll see any day of the week on Britain's motorways and negotiating city centre streets.
"The pressures of multi-drop on-schedule delivery can all too easily lead to cutting corners on safety," said Ken Mann, business communications advisor at mytyres.co.uk. "It's human nature to press-on to avoid running too late but professional drivers should use their experience and knowledge to avoid safety pitfalls. Basic awareness will save time in the long run.
"For example, drivers who habitually bump-up against and over kerbs risk rupturing a tyre and causing suspension or steering damage. The additional two seconds it may take to undertake the parking task more carefully is far less than the 40 minutes or more it will take a rescue service to reach a stranded driver with a deflated tyre. And, of course, the depot manager - and the firm's customers, won't be happy with late deliveries."
Safety and image are linked here. Tyres that suffer sidewall damage are more likely to blow out. Drivers whose regular vehicles require more workshop downtime than others could be subject to more attention from the boss. And those who illegally use a hand held mobile phone while driving risk prosecution and points on their licence - which may lose them their job.
If the 'white van man' image is to be turned around for everybody's benefit, then professional drivers need to apply their professional driving knowledge.