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Young drivers poorly prepared for the road

An L plate on a blue carNine out of 10 young drivers - those aged 17 to 25 - take less than the recommended 40 hours of driving, according to a new survey.

Young drivers are poorly prepared for the road after passing their driving test, according to a new survey.

A lack of lessons may explain why more than 50 per cent of drivers polled admitted to feeling nervous, scared and overwhelmed when taking to the road for the first time.

And a third of young drivers polled - 35 per cent - admitted to having had a collision in their first year of driving, suggesting that they are often ill-equipped with the skills they need to drive safely.

Young drivers also admitted changing their driving style depending on their passengers - driving less safely with friends but more cautiously with parents.

'Alarming, not surprising'

The nationwide survey of 1,000 motorists was carried out by road safety organisation RoadSafe and insurer ingenie.

Dr Lisa Dorn, a psychologist and reader in Driver Behaviour at Cranfield University in Bedforshire, said the results were alarming but not surprising.

"Young people are passing their tests with fewer than 40 hours of in-car tuition with a registered instructor.

"They therefore have a poorer standard of driver education than is recommended, and this produces a feeling of nervousness and a higher chance of a collision, as recognised by the survey.

"Continuing lessons with your instructor after you have passed your test, in particular night time driving and motorway skills, would make young drivers better prepared."

Ill-equipped drivers

Richard King, CEO of ingenie added: "It’s clear from our research findings that many young drivers speed through their theory and practical tests and get straight out on to the road without the essential skills necessary to give them confidence to drive alone."

A growing number of insurers are now fitting telematics or 'black box' devices in cars, in a bid to cut the cost of young driver car insurance.

Telematics or 'black box' technology monitors driving behaviour, such as acceleration and braking.

By proving that they are a sensible driver through this monitoring, it is possible for young drivers to prove to insurance providers that they present a low risk, and insurance premiums may be adjusted accordingly.

Benefit of telematics

King added that besides the benefit of reducing car insurance for young drivers, telematics also helps create better drivers.

"The greatest opportunity is to use the technology to assess a driver’s style, provide helpful feedback to improve their driving and therefore build a community of better drivers."

Watch our 30-second video guide on car insurance for young drivers.

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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