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Are Young Drivers Ready For The Road After Their Test?

A recent survey asked 1,800 young and learner drivers, about the process of learning to drive. It highlighted some concerns. These worries are being addressed this very week which is designated Learner Driver Week to encourage positive change and make driving as accessible, valuable and affordable as possible.

The results of the survey have apparently shown that young people are facing a lack of wider support when learning to drive. Of those surveyed, a quarter think that learning to drive should be represented as an option in the school curriculum. One in four also think that the government should provide subsidised lessons and 26% think that efforts should be made to reduce waiting times for taking tests.

Learner Love No Longer?

We live in a world where everyone wants something done about something somewhere whether it’s war, gender reassignment, school dinners, Boris Johnson’s unruly hair or the dwindling size of a Twix bar and it all gets a bit wearing, to be perfectly candid. If we keep having special days and weeks for special things then the whole year will end up being one big protest and/or celebration about everything.

This time though, Learner Driver Week (HERE) does has some real merit. It’s a good idea. We hear that young people are falling out of love with the car as transport. The freedom of the road does not beckon alluringly as it once did. In the longer term, this must have an effect on the car industry generally. They need to sell cars.

Thus, if we want young people to continue buying vehicles it makes absolute sense to bring the system bang up to date with the latest thinking. New and modern motoring technology help, with terrific steps forward in safety. Ever greater degrees of autonomy could make driving less of a strain and worry to the uncertain. Coupled with the high-tech stuff comes the news that the government want to ban nasty petrol and diesel engine cars from being built after 2040, replacing them with alternatively fuelled cars. This indicates that driving will become increasingly boring but infinitely safer.

Learner Driving Skills

Right now, driving tests do not, according to the survey, teach students the essential skills needed to drive, merely to pass the test. Around a third of respondents feel unprepared for motorway driving for example, whilst 31% are concerned about breaking down and a fifth highlighted worry about vehicle safety and maintenance.

Half of young learners surveyed are more anxious or equally anxious about their driving test compared to their school exams. The top three worries about learning to drive are other road users, having an accident and stalling. A further 13% are worried about never passing their test. Hardly inspires confidence does it?

Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, Learner Driver Week’s key sponsor, said: “Marmalade is founded upon the principle of championing young drivers, ensuring that they are given fair insurance policies based on driving ability rather than being hammered for their age. At a time when young people are under pressure from A-level and university exams, their first jobs and the general stress of growing up – there are too many obstacles standing in the way of them picking up a life-changing skill. Driving allows people to gain independence and opens up opportunities for education, work and relationships. No-one should be stopped from driving based on the fact that they don’t have the opportunity or the price is extortionate. We all are responsible for helping learner drivers.”

Absolutely. The UK driving test, whilst being a lot more rigorous than many other countries, still doesn’t shape up to the needs of 21st Century highways. Good driving skills and automotive knowledge need to be inculcated in schools from an early age, regardless of gender and the like. This way, new or learner drivers will have a much greater degree of skill and competence come the great day. Geoff Maxted