"White van man" is a stereotype, a usually pejorative term used in the United Kingdom to describe aggressive, thoughtless drivers of light commercial vehicles. Such vehicles are almost always painted white at the factory — in order to facilitate easy sign-writing on the panelled sides — and as such, the colour is very popular among van buyers. Drivers of un-lettered white vans are often thought of as having poor road manners, cutting off other road users and generally failing to drive safely. The term is therefore used to refer generally to aggressive van driving, extremely fast driving speeds and is not usually specific in its target.
The stereotypical "white van man" is often thought to be a self-employed or small businessman, often a builder, carpenter or a plumber. His vehicle of choice is the popular Ford Transit light panel van.
Use of the term is a uniquely British social phenomenon. Although it may have been in popular use beforehand it is generally agreed to have been first used in the media by BBC Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy in 1997, sometimes also credited with coining the phrase.
Alastair Stewart, presenter of ITV's Police, Camera, Action!, in the episode A Lorry Load of Trouble (produced in 1997), had a sequence of footage from police forces in the United Kingdom showing the problems that "white van man" causes.
Between 2001 and 2003, The Sun newspaper used a "white van man" as an alleged representative voice of the people.