It takes a newly-qualified driver three-and-a-half years to get the hang of the roads, research has revealed. A study carried out among 2,000 motorists under 25 found many struggle to come to terms with the speed and movement of traffic, with many frequently struck by nerves on roundabouts, motorways and in the dark.
As many as two-thirds of those who were polled admitted they still lack confidence on the roads.
The current weather hasn’t helped either – with more than half saying driving in the snow and freezing conditions frightened them.
The report also found the typical young driver has had three near misses since passing their test (and openly admitted they were at fault).
Perhaps it’s not surprising then it takes three and half years to ‘get the hang of driving’, the poll found.
One in ten said they were anxious when driving with other people in the car, with parents being declared as the worst passengers.
Steve Chelton of Swinton said:
”It’s understandable that young drivers are nervous about certain situations on the roads.
“However in most cases the more you drive, the more experience on the roads you will gain and as a result confidence grows.
”Driving can be daunting so it’s only natural that it takes a while to overcome weather conditions, new roads, driving at night or having passengers in the car.
”Additional driving courses and qualifications can be a great way to build confidence and in some cases can even reduce the premium.”
More than half of those questioned felt that young drivers were perceived as reckless and ‘boy racers’, but only 10% felt this stereotype was true.
Despite this, 67% said their generation was guilty of playing music loudly in their cars, and 44% said they aimlessly cruise around.
A third said their age group was also guilty of congregating in car parks and modifying their vehicles.
More worryingly though, 26% said young drivers don’t wear seat belts and 42% said they talk on their mobile phone whilst driving.
Other misdemeanours novice drivers admitted to included eating behind the wheel, speeding and driving barefoot.
But three quarters of 17-25 year olds claim to have it hard due to the rising costs of driving in the UK and due to the reputation that young drivers have.
More than half felt young motorists were victimised when compared to other drivers.
However, when questioned over the Government’s new plans to ban new drivers from carrying passengers for nine months after passing their test, 58% disagreed with the proposal, and only 20% felt it would be a good move.
Two-thirds felt elderly drivers were more worthy of having a bad reputation than they were, and 45% felt that white van men were guilty of more offences than they were.
Steve Chelton added:
”Learning to drive, taking the required tests plus buying, taxing and insuring a car for young drivers can be costly.
”But after the initial outlay and accumulating a couple of years of safe driving, costs will come down.”
TOP 25 DRIVING FEARS
1. Driving in snow
2. Driving in freezing conditions
3. Driving in fog
4. Motorway driving
5. Parallel parking
6. Roads you don’t know
7. Driving in city centres
8. Driving in the rain
9. Over taking lorries
10. Driving on country roads
11. Over taking
12. Narrow streets
13. Heavily congested roads
14. Driving in the dark
15. Parking in car parks
16. Roads with potholes
17. Large traffic light controlled roundabouts
18. Double mini roundabouts
19. Driving with your parents
20. Driving without Sat Nav
21. Driving on dual carriageways
22. Driving with passengers
23. Driving with your boss
24. Driving on your own
25. Roads with speed bumps