Tag Archive | "driving test"

New Drivers Need To Be Better Trained

One day soon parents and relatives all around Britain may suddenly wake up to howls of anguish coming from their older children – at least, the ones that are learning to drive. This is because – as revealed by a very recent survey – experienced motorists are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of learning requirements for new drivers – and not just the youngsters; learners of any age.

A very large majority of the UK’s motorists believe that there should be a minimum driver training period prior to any practical driving test being taken. Most seem to think that a six month period is appropriate. As things stand at the moment there is no minimum period. A precocious seventeen year old could learn and pass in a week which may be commendable but does nothing to add to the real life experience of driving on our busy roads.

Motorway driving and manners are of primary concern given the generally higher speeds and volume of traffic. Respondents to the survey reckon that motorway training should be part of the learning process and indeed part of the driving test. As far as new drivers are concerned it gets worse.

A majority believe the mandatory probation period should be followed by a further driving assessment. Vehicles, the respondents believe, should be fitted with speed limiter devices to slow the more gung-ho element of the newbies and instil a sense of security in the more nervous newcomer to the world of wheels. This is a bit of a contentious area given that most motorway drivers expect a higher level of speed to be maintained. There would need to be a happy medium.

Experienced drivers believe that the government should do more by adding more stringent requirements and regulation to ensure newcomers benefit from the process. Other road users would feel reassured by this, they say. Most seem happy with the age 17 rule, but they want the punishments to be more severe. For example, any miscreant with more than six points should be busted down to learner status again and forced to repeat the cycle.

Additionally it is felt that there should be passenger restrictions on the carrying of under twenty-fives by under twenty-fives, presumably to neuter youthful exuberance and that there should be an even lower limit for drink driving. Presumably the former wouldn’t apply to older newbies but it isn’t made clear.

All of this, of course, is easy to say for drivers with many years of experience behind them but it needs to be balanced with a sense of fair play. We were all learners once. Certainly the roads are busier today than they have ever been but as most young people will grow up to be sensible drivers they should at least be given a fair crack of the whip and we don’t mean that in the literal sense.

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P Is For Probationary

The trouble with young people is that they will insist on going out and enjoying themselves by having fun and so on. Sometimes though they enjoy themselves a bit too much and the results can occasionally be tragic. An 18 year old driver is three times more likely to have an accident than, say, his parent.

The under twenty five age group are, according to statistics, responsible for one third of all motor accidents despite comprising only one eighth of the driving population. As an understandable consequence, young drivers are penalised by hugely expensive insurance premiums.

For this reason the Department for Transport is reviewing a number of measures to try and cut down the amount of youth related accidents and deaths. In a rather sweeping statement a government spokesman stated that young drivers were prone to “immaturity and reckless driving” and were “easily distracted by others”. That’s tarred them all with the same brush, then, although it is true to a certain extent.

Measures being considered include a ban on novice drivers carrying ‘young passengers’ and the need to display probationary plates on their cars. These are sometimes used on a voluntary basis by new drivers, probably at their parent’s behest, and seem like a good idea. After all, learners have to use L plates prior to passing their test and – since most people would agree that newbies only really learn to drive after the official examination when they are out on their own – a P plate would seem a natural progression.

The government believes that introducing youth calming measures would in the long run bring down the accident rate and the punitive insurance premiums that young drivers have to presently endure. The insurance companies would, one suspects, want to see a long and consistent reduction in claims for this to actually happen.

They have a similar system in Northern Ireland where novices have to display an R (for restricted) plate for the first twelve months after their test pass. They are also required to keep speeds below forty five miles per hour. Overall, it makes sense. Young drivers might not like it but if ultimately it saves their money and their life then it’s probably a sensible move.

Maybe it could be extended to other various classes of motorists. There could be, for example, be an I for ‘irritable’ driver plate or a W for ‘woman driver’ plate. Hey; just throwing out suggestions here – don’t shoot the messenger.

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Why Motorway Driving Should Be Part of Learning to Drive

According to new guidelines from the Department for Transport, learner drivers will now be allowed on the UK’s motorways when accompanied by a qualified driving instructor.

However, with proposals for learners to now be allowed on the country’s motorway network to gain experience, are the plans a good idea or will it increase the problem of lacking confidence seen in new drivers when making their way on to a motorway for the first time as the speed differential widens?

In short, no. Leaners will be accompanied by their instructor in the normal manner, meaning their teacher is more than likely not going to throw them in at the deep end with a 70mph stretch of tarmac until they’re good and ready.

Garnering motorway experience so new drivers are au fait with how motorways work straight away is a superb idea as we all know how exploring a three-lane carriageway can be a daunting experience.

Many newly qualified drivers build the first motorway trip up unnecessarily, creating undue fear.

But motorways are well sighted, don’t have any corners to speak of and have traffic flowing in the same direction. In theory then, they should be the easiest type of roads to drive on in the UK.

Hopefully the new initiative will see learners realise that motorways aren’t something to be frightened of, simply that the trick to fruitful navigation of a motorway is getting on, changing lanes and leaving the carriageway safely – and its only experience that can teach this.

Motorways aren’t dangerous. In fact, according to the European Road Assessment Programme, they’re the nation’s safest type of roadway.

For a leaner to gain experience in a controlled (relatively) environment is an excellent idea. That a newly qualified driver could return home from a test centre by driving on a motorway at 70mph – sometimes faster – is nonsensical, but more importantly dangerous to both themselves and other drivers.

The plans for “motorway practicing” could prove the perfect way to eradicate the culture among learners that motorways are scary, highlighting to them that when broken down and learnt in chunks, driving on a three-lane highway is actually perfectly manageable.

We’re convinced by the proposal and believe it’ll help raise both awareness and driving standards amongst young motorists on the country’s motorways – it’s been a long time coming but will hopefully see accident rates also further reduced.

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