If learning to drive is one of your New Year’s resolutions, a new study has revealed the skills motorists would really like you to get to grips with before you pass your test.
Research from Young Driver asked 1,000 UK motorists what elements of driving they thought should be focused on more in the learning process. The dangers of using a mobile phone behind the wheel took the top spot, with 56 per cent saying they wish the message would hit home. Speeding and being more aware of the potential consequences of tailgating also featured highly – elements which should already be focused on significantly in the learning process, but where drivers felt the message wasn’t getting through.
However, according to the research from Young Driver, which is the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, there were also key driving situations people felt weren’t adequately covered in the learning process. Forty three per cent of people thought motorway lessons should be compulsory, with a similar number hoping that would lead to less middle lane hogs on the roads. Forty per cent of motorists thought night time driving should also be a necessary part of lessons. Neither are currently a legal requirement of learning to drive in the UK, although since June 2018, qualified instructors can take learners for lessons on motorways if they choose to do so.
Motorists were also keen to highlight the importance of driver etiquette during tuition. Forty five per cent of drivers wished more focus was given to manners behind the wheel, such as thanking other road users or allowing people to filter in.
One in four (25 per cent) thought lessons on how to drive with passengers without getting distracted would be useful, and bad parking and failing to use an indicator were also bad habits drivers wished could be avoided by getting the learning process right. One in three drivers (35 per cent) say they wish learners had a lesson on the careful opening of car doors, to avoid dinging another vehicle.
The top 10 things motorists wish learner drivers could be taught more successfully
- Not to use a mobile phone when driving – 56 per cent
- Not to drive too fast – 49 per cent
- The dangers of tailgating – 47 per cent
- Driving etiquette, such as thanking other drivers or allowing people to filter in – 45 per cent
- How to drive on motorways – 43 per cent
- How to drive at night – 40 per cent
- Not to be a middle lane hog – 40 per cent
- How to park better – 40 per cent
- To always use an indicator – 38 per cent
- How to open a car door in a tight parking space without banging it into the car next to you – 35 per cent
Further areas of focus included being taught about the dangers of driving too slowly, which 34 per cent of drivers flagged as important, when and how headlights should be used (29 per cent) and how average speed cameras work (19 per cent).
Laura White from Young Driver said: “It is perhaps strange that motorway or night time driving – skills which are needed by nearly all UK drivers – are not an essential part of the learning process. It seems motorists think there are things about being a good driver which learners aren’t being taught in a successful way. However, much of it is down to having a greater awareness of other road users and being courteous, a lot of which is gained through experience and not slipping into bad habits.”
“Our aim at Young Driver has always been one of safety and increasing the level of experience before drivers get anywhere near a public road. We encourage youngsters aged 10 and upwards to get experience behind the wheel in a controlled, responsible manner – there’s no pressure or rush to pass a test as quickly as possible. Pupils are encouraged to try different venues and different times of year to experience a variety of driving conditions, and can even try driving on a motorway. Then when they start lessons at 17 on the road, they already know how to physically drive the car and can give more attention to the wider driving experience. Less time worrying what their feet should be doing means more time spent with an instructor being able to learn how to read the road and other road users.”
Young Driver has given almost 600,000 lessons to 10 to 17-year olds at more than 60 venues across the UK. Lessons take place on specially created road systems at private venues, with traffic lights, junctions and roundabouts to negotiate. Tuition is given by highly qualified approved driving instructors in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas. Advanced Skills Days, offering motorway training, are also available for under 17s.
For more information about Young Driver visit www.youngdriver.com.