Young drivers say driving lessons are failing to prepare them for life on the road and want an overhaul of the learning process to better equip the next generation of motorists, according to a new report by The Co-operative Insurance.
Findings in the report, Young Drivers: Are they ready for the road?, include: 62% of young drivers favour a minimum learning period; 24% say an accident they were involved in could have been avoided with more learning; and 29% say they cannot drive alone after passing.
Based on the views of more than 2,000 young drivers, the report also shows that 48% of respondents felt unprepared for motorway driving after passing their test; 29% said they were not ready for night-time driving; and 14% considered themselves to be ‘unprepared’ to drive at all.
This lack of confidence has led to young drivers deliberately going out of their way to avoid certain situations including motorway driving (21%) and driving in city centres (19%), while 8% will not turn right at busy junctions.
Despite this, 18% passed their driving test after spending three months or less learning to drive and 50% took six months or less to pass.
James Hillon, director of General Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “A lot of public debate is taking place on how safety can be improved and insurance premiums cut for young drivers, but the views of young motorists themselves are rarely heard.
“Far from being the stereotypical image of the ‘boy-racer’, this study shows that many are not confident to face everyday situations on Britain’s roads in the early years, despite months of lessons. Young people say that the current system fails to prepare them for driving on motorways, on their own or in poor conditions.
“They want to see a more comprehensive approach and are hugely in favour of a minimum learning period for all new drivers to fully prepare them, and we fully support this.
“It’s startling that one in four young drivers who have had an accident believe it could have been prevented if they had taken more time to learn to drive before taking their test.”
Stephen Hammond, roads minister, said: “Improving young drivers’ safety is a priority for the Government – that is why we have already improved the driving test so that it better reflects real-life conditions on the road, rather than focusing on specific manoeuvres.
“We are also considering a range of options to ensure learners and newly qualified drivers are properly prepared for the road and we will publish our proposals later in the year.”