Lloyds Bank Car Insurance are reassuring nervous drivers that they are not alone in feeling worried behind the wheel. Findings show that a majority of us (70%) experience concern in the driving seat. This is most widespread among younger drivers (94% of 18-24-year-olds) and women (84% vs. 55% of men) showing just how commonplace driver concerns are in the UK.
The research coincides with news from the Department for Transport (DfT) that it is considering a “graduated” licensing system imposing restrictions on drivers depending on experience. This would include a probationary period, with restrictions on driving at night and carrying young passengers.
Driver worries are greater in the scenarios that would feature in the new probationary period: for example, 18% of 18-24-year-olds say they are nervous about driving with children in the car, compared to 6% of the wider population. Positively, drivers become more confident with age, as 60% of over 55s said they feel worried behind the wheel. (vs. 70% overall)
Joanne Mallon, Author of a book on driver confidence, said,
“I avoided driving for seven years because of the fear I experienced behind the wheel, so I know how distressing this can be.
“If you identify with this, you are not alone – many people have similar concerns and fears. In fact Lloyds Bank’s car insurance research shows 1.35m licence-holders have not driven since the day they passed their test, even though confidence seems to come with experience.”
Research shows that the biggest triggers for nervousness across all age groups include driving abroad (36%), driving in bad weather (32%), towing a caravan (30%), driving in areas or on roads we’re not familiar with (28%) and parallel parking (21%).
Many motorists also actively avoid stressful driving scenarios. Two-fifths (41%) of motorists avoid going somewhere if they know parking will be an issue, strongest among Londoners (52%). More than a quarter (26%) would avoid driving in the rain or snow and more than one in 10 (12%) female drivers say they would turn down an invitation if it meant they would have to drive at night.
Just a sixth (15%) of drivers know the recommended course of action when the oil level in a vehicle needs topping up and 2.27m admit that they’ve never filled up their own car with fuel (5% of all UK drivers).
The knowledge gap also persists when it comes to protocols around accidents: 31% of 18-24-year-olds say they wouldn’t know what to do if they were involved in an accident with another motorist, compared to one in 10 (10%) across all age groups.
Paul Birkhead, Head of Car Insurance, Lloyds Bank, added:
“While some people love the freedom of the open road, for many of us driving can be a stressful experience. Drivers should therefore not feel alone if they feel nervous behind the wheel.
“In addition to the steps suggested by Joanne, there are other ways drivers can help themselves feel more confident behind the wheel. Having the right level of car insurance, and knowing you’re covered if something goes wrong is a simple way of feeling more confident on the road and having one less thing to worry about.
“In the unfortunate case where you might have an accident, don’t panic. Exchange contact details with the other motorist and let the police know. It’s also good to keep your insurer’s details saved in your phone so that you can contact them as well.”
The figure of 1.35 million licence holders who have never driven after passing their test is truly astonishing – can it be true? If so, more research needs to be done to find out why people are spending thousands of pounds on lessons, tax and insurance, to then walk, cycle or use public transport.
The survey reveals that more than half of all drivers feel `worried’ behind the wheel. We would say some of the reasons for these worries include the following factors; uninsured drivers on the roads, a lack of traffic Police vehicles outside of the motorway network, deep and damaging pot-holes and millions of drivers using smartphones or tablets whilst on the move. All of those factors are probably of more concern to many drivers than a lack of parking spaces in London.