There are millions of drivers on the road, all with different abilities and levels of experience. But how long should it take to become a good driver? Here’s what research has to say…
Learning The Art
Conducted by Young Driver, a major provider of pre-17 driving lessons, the research involved the responses of more than 1,000 drivers. It was found that, on average, they felt a motorist needed 60 weeks’ worth of experience to be considered a good driver; the equivalent of 14 months. But 17% of those questioned actually felt they’d need at least two year’s experience on the nation’s road network to qualify.
Despite this, most learner drivers only spend 40 – 50 hours behind the wheel before passing their practical test. One in four of the questioned drivers (26%) admitted to feeling extremely nervous after passing. One in ten reported the opposite, stating they felt over-confident. Young Driver feels that both scenarios, when combined with a lack of proper experience, can lead to dangerous situations.
Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at YoungDriver, emphasised the importance of practical experience. She said, “we all know that experience is key to being a safer driver. Sadly, when youngsters first pass their test, that can often be lacking, which can lead to moments of hesitation or dangerous choices being made, resulting in an accident”.
The company has paired up with Quentin Wilson to publish a book to help new drivers. Wilson explained, “I’ve written this book in an easy-to-read style with lots of illustrations because with preparation and planning, parent, child and approved driving instructor can make a really strong team, leading to the best possible outcome in terms of creating a safe, confident and skilled driver. And that’s good news for all road users”.
Easier Said Than Done
One of the biggest problems with new drivers getting a sufficient amount of experience is the cost of learning to drive. The average price (and this can fluctuate wildly) is around £1,300, with the typical lesson costing £24. For young drivers, this is especially crippling. Many feel pressure to pass their practical tests as quickly as possible in order to avoid ongoing costs.
There has also been recent reports citing how many insurers ignore the Pass Plus programme altogether; meaning there’s little incentive for drivers to take it after passing their test. We also need to consider that, for many would-be drivers, driving is a necessity for accessing public services and job opportunities. This often means passing quickly and decisively is a must.
Ultimately, passing the practical driving test isn’t an indication of whether someone is a good driver or not. Instead, it simply demonstrates that a minimum standard can be achieved when it needs to be; that is to say, when the driver is being observed. One could argue that it’s only afterwards, when the driver is driving on their own and in less controlled environments, that they actually begin to learn. But this process is bound to be as diverse and drivers themselves. What matters most is that each driver is honest about their own ability and what they can handle.
Defensive Driving: Five Things You Need To Know – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/defensive-driving-five-things/
Driverless Cars: Do We Really Want To Stop Driving? – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/driverless-cars-stop-driving/