Official figures have backed up a survey that says 68% of younger drivers still feel they need to improve, whilst 25% admit to crashing shortly after passing their test. The accident figures for 2012 show that a fifth of accidents where there was a fatality or serious injury involved a young driver, whilst a quarter of all road traffic accident related deaths were young people themselves.
This has led the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) to ask the controversial question of whether our driving test is comprehensive enough. We think it’s slightly more complicated than that, and no matter how comprehensive a test is there will always be experience needed. Undoubtedly the test could concentrate more on awareness and advanced driving techniques, such as those taught by RoSPA (Royal Society Prevention of Accidents). However, there is never going to be a substitute for experience, and the biggest useful change would be in attitude. Young drivers should approach their driving test as just the first stage in learning to drive, and have access to resources to continue the learning process as more questions and situations arise.
The IAM’s chief executive, Simon Best, said, “This survey shows that younger drivers simply don’t feel adequately prepared for independent driving. The current learning system is failing the next generation of motorists and there needs to be a serious review. Early experience of a wide range of traffic conditions is vital but so is dealing with negative attitudes. This can be done most effectively through peer group discussions rather than just relying on stricter controls and curfews.”
I once read a comment by someone who said the only factor that unites all of mankind is that we all think we are above average drivers. To a large extent this may well be true, and acknowledging there is always room for improvement is an important factor in anyones personal journey to becoming a better driver.