New Drivers And Instructors Call For Driving Test To Include Motorway And Night-Time Driving

  • 75% of driving instructors have serious concerns about driving test standards
  • Nine out of ten young drivers want test to be toughened up to prepare them better
  • Major areas of concern for novice drivers and instructors include rural, motorway and night-time driving

Newly qualified drivers are ill-equipped to take to UK roads because the driving test is out of date, according to both instructors and novice drivers in new research by Direct Line car insurance.

54 per cent of all drivers* said they found the driving test too easy, and 21 per cent admitted they felt unprepared or incapable of driving alone after gaining a full licence. In the research, 19 per cent of all the drivers that Direct Line spoke to said they still struggle to drive at night (11 per cent), drive on the motorway (19 per cent) and on icy roads (25 per cent) because they were never taught the correct technique for driving in different scenarios.

The vast majority (89 per cent) of drivers who have passed their test in the last two years said that the test could be improved to better prepare them for the road, and close to a quarter admitted to having been involved in a car accident because of their lack of skills. A further 17 per cent admitted to having had a near-miss.

Driving instructors themselves are also calling for the practical test to be strengthened in the following areas:

  • Rural driving training (88 per cent)
  • Motorway training (84 per cent)
  • Dual carriageway driving (78 per cent)
  • Night-time driving (72 per cent)
  • All weather training (73 per cent)

The instructors' thoughts were echoed, with over half (52 per cent) of all drivers joining the call for motorway driving to be added to the test and one third (32 per cent) saying night-time driving should be included as compulsory.

The findings come as the Government considers changes to the existing driving test. One of the options is adopting a similar scheme to Sweden, where 120 hours of driver training is required before taking your test. Direct Line found three out of four licence holders and 77 per cent of driving instructors are in favour of this approach.

Emma Holyer, Direct Line's Motor Spokesperson said:

“Road crashes are the number one killer of people in their teens and twenties in the UK***. The Direct Line study has revealed the extent to which people feel the driving test has under-prepared them for the roads, and in the interests of safety, we are calling on the Driving Standards Agency to improve the test."

5 June 2007 Staff

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