Motorways are the biggest cause of anxiety amongst drivers

Recently, we surveyed UK drivers to find out their perception of driving related to anxiety and road traffic accidents. Over 750 participants shared their opinion with us, with 62% of new drivers saying their anxiety was brought on by driving on motorways. These findings back up current plans to allow motorway driving during the learning period.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced in August 2017 that learner drivers will be able to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor from 2018. This move will allow new drivers to familiarise themselves with motorways and help them understand how to use them safely, so they can drive with confidence when alone. The decision to take motorway lessons will be voluntary and it will be up to the instructor to judge a driver’s ability before taking them onto the motorway.

Motorways are the safest type of road

Despite the consensus that motorways cause driver anxiety amongst new drivers, current data from the Department for Transport highlights motorways as being the safest type of road to drive on, with a 50% decline in fatalities between 2006 and 2016. It was reported that 803 people were seriously injured in 2016, and the number of people slightly injured fell by 5% to 7,838 when compared to 2015.

A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said in a recent article for Yahoo!: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer.

“Younger drivers are up to seventimemore likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25 and lack of experience is an important factor.

“Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understandofhow to use motorways safely before driving independently.”

The article also highlighted that “new drivers take 18 weeks on average to pluck up the courage to head out on the motorway after their passing their test”. However, our survey showed that of the 10% that attended a post-test training course, such as Pass Plus, 58% said that it increased their confidence when driving on motorways while 67% it improved their overall driving confidence.

Advice for driver anxiety

Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM Roadsmart shared some advice for drivers who are feeling anxious when setting out on their own: “If you suffer anxiety while walking out to the car, it normally revolves around having to drive on a particular route, for example, if you drive to college or university everyday, but you’re going somewhere unfamiliar and you know you’ve got to take a certain route that puts you off.

“My advice in this instance would be to go out with a professional again. You were happy to sit with your driving instructor when you were learning how to drive and they were there to keep you right and talk to you in the right places when they saw your face as you were dealing with something. If you can, liaise with your original instructor and see how they can help. If that’s not possible or money is a sticking point, is there someone in your family who's driving you look at and respect - if so, go out with them. If you suddenly become anxious while driving and it’s affecting your ability, pull over and get yourself somewhere safe straight away.

“A motorway to an experienced driver is potentially the safest road to drive. A motorway to a new driver because they’ve not had that experience is the unknown, so it’s a great move by the government to encourage novice drivers to use them whilst training in the new year."

Categories: Road And Motor
Tags: None