It is shocking but true: most new drivers would probably fail their driving test if they took it again within a year of passing. Why? Because new drivers are still making mistakes on the road and often overestimate their ability behind the wheel.
A recent survey conducted by Garmin of 1,000 drivers under the age of 25 has shone a sharp light on the statistics behind poor driving habits by new drivers.
Despite most new drivers (over 80%) admitting to all kinds of offences while they drive – including being distracted, failing to use their mirrors and speeding – around 57% of this group still consider themselves to be “good drivers”.
Hmm… Clearly something is going wrong here.
What is Causing the Problems?
New drivers don’t have as much experience on the road. This means that they may be more likely to drive nervously (33%) or may be more easily distracted by in-car media such as the radio (35%).
These problems are quite easy to solve.
If you need to concentrate, simply turn off the radio!
Nervous drivers may also wish to take a Pass Plus lesson or two to build their confidence and should drive at quieter times to get used to being on their own in the car.
Speeding and road rage are more pertinent problems that must be addressed.
20% of new drivers admit to speeding. This is hugely problematic because speeding is more likely to lead to serious accidents and loss of control while driving.
For new drivers, in particular, this is a serious problem as their lack of experience may mean that they don’t know how to respond should an accident occur.
The best solution is very simple and obvious: stick to speed limits!
Road rage affects around 17% of new drivers and is also dangerous.
Wasting time getting cross will reduce your concentration and could lead to conflict on the road. Ultimately, these drivers need to learn to calm down and drive less aggressively.
Planning plenty of time for your journey and listening to calming music can help. If someone else is being aggressive, the best advice is to ignore them and pull over to let them pass if you can.
Finally, 20% of new drivers admit to not using their mirrors while driving. It should be obvious why this is a problem but let’s spell it out anyway: if you don’t use your mirrors, you won’t know what’s going on around you.
Getting into the habit of checking your mirrors regularly is essential for safe driving. Using the mantra ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ will also ensure that you use your mirrors properly.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that 81% of parents worry about their kids driving! Many parents are anxious while their children are learning to drive but this number increases significantly once they have passed their test.
Perhaps parents suspect that their children are taking their test too early?
Passing your driving test requires that you drive well at a particular time on a particular day. However, going on to become a good driver requires you to drive well all the time.
For some students, it may be worth taking a few extra driving lessons before taking your test to make sure that you are definitely confident in your driving skills.
You may also choose to have a couple of lessons after passing, particularly driving on motorways. This will give you the confidence you need to drive without L plates.
The Pass Plus program offers an extra 6 hours of practical training, which covers motorways, various weather types and driving at night amongst other things. Taking the Pass Plus course may also lower your car insurance which is another perk.
You might also look into how technology can influence your driving style.
For example, a black box will monitor your driving style and rewards good drivers by lowering their car insurance. Steady driving, better braking and choosing safer routes are all encouraged by the black box in your car.
Like all skills, your driving will improve with your experience so the more you drive, the easier it will become and the better driver you will be.
However, the key to good driving is not allowing yourself to be complacent. As the statistics show, most people consider themselves a good driver because they are setting the bar low.
If you hold yourself to higher standards, you are more likely to be a good driver, even if you think you’re only average.