After several years of speculation, we can confirm a little known fact. That well known international hazard of the roads ‘White Man Van’ is actually trained in Cyprus. Here’s the full story.
White Van Man
When we used to live in England, we were frequently amazed by the driving skill of White Van Man.
White Van Man’s ability to dominate the road, show no courtesy for others and navigate his vehicle through the tightest spaces without even a hint of slowing was a constant source of fascination.
What we didn’t know at the time was we were looking at fully qualified White Van Men. We didn’t know of the intensive training programme they had to undertake in Cyprus to drive like complete arseholes.
Trained in Cyprus
Cyprus’ wonderful climate makes it an ideal training location. As an example, every spring the RAF Red Arrows display team takes up residence at Akrotiri to perfect their flying skills for the summer display season.
Similarly, White Van Man is trained on the highway in Cyprus – in particular the section stretching from Limassol to Nicosia.
The Cyprus highway is a perfect training ground. With an official speed limit of 100kph (approx. 62mph) and an unofficial speed limit of 120kph (approx. 75mph), almost every white van can comfortably blast through the speed limit to terrorise other drivers.
Specialist White Van Man skills
The Cyprus highways are also perfect for that unique White Van Man skill – getting as close as possible to the car in front.
As somebody who always complies with the unofficial 120kph speed limit by setting the cruise control at 119kph, I’m not overtaken much. Apart from by White Van Man of course.
He appears in your rear view mirror out of nowhere, taking up position a precision 5cm from your rear bumper. Headlight flashing and horn honking is of course mandatory with this manoeuver.
It doesn’t matter if it’s possible to get out of his way or not, a truly skilled White Van Man can hold the 5cm spacing from your rear bumper at 119kph like a skilled fighter pilot flying in formation. The Red Arrows have a standard to live up to.
Advanced White Van Man skills
While holding the 5cm position from your back bumper, advanced White Van Man can also do two other critical things. He can smoke with his right hand and talk on the phone with his left hand. Steering is precisely controlled with his knees.
The other key skill of White Van Man is parking. Cyprus is already famous for the parking skills of its drivers; White Van Man is in a class of his own.
It doesn’t matter how narrow the street, White Van Man can park anywhere. Training for this part of the course is frequently carried out in the narrow streets of the old town at Nicosia.
Getting a white van down those streets is challenge enough for most people. Parking so as to completely block the road is the pinnacle of White Van Man’s training.
Want to join White Van Man training?
Easy. Get yourself a white van. The older and more battered the better. Set out from Limassol, heading for Nicosia. The section past Kalavassos is perfect for advanced manoeuvres. Gently undulating and gently winding, you can spot the examiners (Police) from some distance away.
Find a car to follow. Ideally one doing 115-119kph. Even better, one wearing the red plates of a hire car. (Probably a tourist. The element of surprise just isn’t there when harassing the locals).
Take up the 5cm position, flash lights, blow horn, smoke fags, chat to your mates. Hold the position for at least 10km.
Done it? You’ve passed.