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'Driving dread' among young motorists

2nd July 2012 Print

One in ten young motorists has never parked their own car, according to new research by The Co-operative Insurance.

According to the poll of 18 to 24 year old drivers, 10 per cent of those surveyed prefer to get their mum or dad to park the car for them rather than attempt to park it themselves.

The research also reveals that parking is one of the top ‘driving dreads' among young motorists, with more than a quarter (27%) saying they lack confidence when it comes to parking their car.

The findings also show that driving on ‘new' roads is another top fear among 18 to 24 year old drivers with one in three (30%) saying they don't like tackling roads they've never been on before. Furthermore, one in 20 young motorists would rather plan a different route instead of dealing with a big junction.

Other driving dreads among 18 to 24 year olds include motorways (18%), driving through tight gaps (17%), overtaking (14%) and roundabouts (13%).  Driving alone is also a common fear among young motorists, with a huge 15 per cent refusing to drive on their own even after passing their driving test.

Top 10 ‘Driving Dreads' of young drivers

Driving dread - Percentage
1 Snow and ice on the road 43%
2 Driving on roads they haven't been on before 30%
3 Parallel parking 27%
4 Driving in city centres 19%
5 Driving on a motorway 18%
6 Driving through tight gaps 17%
7 Overtaking 14%
8 Driving past lorries 14%
9 Roundabouts 13%
10 Reversing 10%

Grant Mitchell, Head of Motor Insurance at The Co-operative, said: "Our findings show the extent to which new motorists worry about driving. Although young drivers have the reputation for being reckless and too confident, we can see that many young people actually lack the confidence they need on the road.

"Of course, the road can be a scary place when you first start driving, but it's surprising that basic things such as parking or negotiating roundabouts are still a worry for motorists long after they've passed their driving test."

The findings also show that some young drivers have such a fear of dealing with the road that it's stopped them going out to see friends and family (9%) or visiting new places (6%) and has even stopped some from driving altogether (5%).

However, the research shows those who do have ‘driving dreads' have a number of coping mechanisms to help them deal with the road. Sensibly, nearly a quarter (24%) of young drivers avoid driving in bad weather and more than a tenth (15%) avoid driving in rush hour.

But others have more worrying ways of coping, with five per cent of people admitting that they shut their eyes when dealing with tricky situations on the road and three per cent saying that chatting to friends on their phone helps to calm their nerves.  

The survey also highlights that motorway driving is a big stumbling block for young drivers, with a fifth (20%) of 18 to 24 year olds agreeing that they've never driven on a motorway. More than a quarter of them (28%) admit that this is because they are too scared while one in 10 (10%) admit that it's because their parents won't let them. Furthermore, more than a fifth of people (22%) wish they'd had experience of driving on a motorway before they passed their driving test.

Grant Mitchell says: "There are simple steps that young people can take to overcome their driving fears, for example, practising driving in different weather conditions before taking their driving test."

The Co-operative has seen a 20% drop in car accidents among motorists who use its Young Driver insurance scheme compared to those with standard insurance.