• It takes just 2 months and 3 weeks on average for those who had lessons on the motorway to take the same journey after passing
  • 34% of Britons don’t move out of the left-hand lane on their first solo motorway experience
  • Parallel parking and reverse bay parking were found to be the manoeuvres most commonly avoided for 7 to 8 months, on average

The team at Driving School of the Year (2019), www.billplant.co.uk, undertook the research into the way new drivers react when they are finally legal to drive on the road by themselves, having passed their Driving Test. Over 2,400 Britons above the age of 18 were surveyed in total, 1,450 of whom passed their test before June 4th 2019, with the remainder having passed afterwards.

Just 23% of new drivers who passed their test before June 4th 2019 (when learners were allowed on the motorway on driving lessons) admitted that they drove on the motorway within the first month of passing their Driving Test, with it taking on average of 6 months for all.

Of those who were able to use the motorway in their driving lessons, 57% found themselves on the highway within the first month of passing, with the average overall being slightly less than 3 months (2 months and 3 weeks).

Of all participants, one in three (34%) admitted that they didn’t move out of the left-hand lane on their first motorway experience, with an additional 16% admitting that they did but only to overtake, swiftly moving back into the left-hand lane when it was safe to do so. What’s more, 40% admitted that they missed a turning on their initial motorway trips, which caused them to panic.

The top reasons that so many don’t drive on the motorway straight away were found to be: having no need to drive on the motorway (30%), not having anyone to accompany them on their first solo trip without a Driving Instructor (28%), and being too nervous/scared (19%).When provided with a list of other driving-related actions – including those that could appear in a driving test – and asked how long it took them, on average, to undertake after receiving their full driving licence, those that took the longest were found to be:

  1. Reverse park/parallel park – 8 months (on average it takes new drivers to perform this task)
  2. Reverse bay parking – 7 months
  3. Reverse around a corner – 3 months
  4. Emergency stop – 3 weeks
  5. Turn in the road – 1 week

Additionally, it was found that 83% of Britons surveyed have not once driven abroad, and a further 27% were reluctant to initially drive with children in the car.

Peter Brabin, Head of Training at www.billplant.co.uk, commented on the findings:

“It’s one thing to have lessons in a car with a Driving Instructor who can take over, and another to be on the road completely by yourself. A Driving Instructor will allow their student to go for a Driving Test when they believe they’re ready for, and no good Driving Test Examiner will pass someone who simply isn’t ready to be on the road by themselves.

“Confidence is key here, but so is safety. Remain alert to your surroundings and aware of anything that could potentially be a hazard. Stick to the speed limits imposed, whether you’re on city streets, the countryside or the motorway, and don’t be afraid to use a ‘P’ Plate on your car to make other road users aware that you have recently passed your test, and may therefore require a little extra space and patience.”