New driver nerves

After hours of driving lessons in Brighton and the surrounding areas of Sussex you might think you’re getting to be a bit of an expert on the roads. But according to a recent poll of 2900 new drivers under the age of 25 taken by insurance brokers Swinton, it takes around 3 and a half years after passing the practical test for new young drivers feel they have got the hang of driving.


Two thirds of the young drivers who took part in the poll said they lack confidence on the road with roundabouts, motorways and driving in the dark jangling their nerves the most. Weather conditions such as snow and ice can also have an affect on a new driver’s confidence behind the wheel.


Young new drivers also reported being nervous about unfamiliar roads, busy roads, city centres and country roads. Narrow streets are also tough for young drivers to negotiate as well as overtaking lorries. Those polled also feared parallel parking and parking in car parks.


Half of those surveyed said they believed young drivers had a reputation for being reckless on the roads. 1000 young drivers thought many people imagine boy racers when discussing young drivers and 10% believe this is an accurate impression. 67% admitted to playing loud music in their cars and 44% drive aimlessly around their local area. Swinton also found that on average a new driver has around 3 near misses post test that could have been avoided if they had driven more carefully.


A third of new drivers with access to a vehicle meet up in car parks and the same number modify their vehicles. Lowering the car suspension or recovering the seats in new material.


While opinions may differ over car interior décor choices; far more concerning was the fact that 26% of new drivers don’t bother to wear a seatbelt. This has been illegal [ ] in the UK and has been since 1983. In 1991 it became compulsory for those sitting in the back seats to also wear seatbelts.


Another dangerous practise 42% of the young drivers surveyed confessed to was talking on their mobile phone while driving. This is also illegal []. Other bad driving habits were driving in bare feet, eating at the wheel and exceeding the speed limit.


90% said they believed driving enabled their independence, but 73% of young drivers told Swinton that their social lives were being spoiled due to high insurance costs. Of those who simply cannot afford the cost of car insurance 27.10% admitted to driving their parents’ car without their own insurance. Recently Insurance costs for 17-25 year olds have sharply increased, with average premiums often reaching £4,000 per year for young men and £2,000 for young women drivers.


Steve Chelton, Insurance Development Manager at Swinton commented: “We are all aware of the rising costs of insurance for young drivers, but the impact that this is having on their social lives is often overlooked…The results from this survey clearly highlight that young car owners feel they are being exploited. It is costing them a fortune to enjoy the lifestyle that previous generations took for granted.”

Do you think young drivers are being exploited by insurance brokers? Or is their reputation for being reckless on the roads justified?

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