Young drivers need to learn how to avoid crashes

17th January 2018

Young drivers need to learn how to avoid crashes

Young drivers are taking too long to learn how to avoid crashes involving the most vulnerable road users, new research suggests.

The report published by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart and TRL found that young drivers are quick to learn how to avoid collisions where they lose control of their own vehicle.

However, they are a lot slower to learn how to deal with vulnerable road users, be safe on the motorway and safely complete low speed manoeuvres, the study adds.

In the past, crashes involving young drivers typically see them going too fast on a country road, but it seems that new drivers themselves soon pick up the skills to stay safe on Britain’s highest risk roads.

Accident rates down

The report, titled Young Novice Driver Collision Types, outlines how in their first year on the road, an average 17-year-old driver can see their risk of being involved in a crash reduce by 36 per cent as a result of driving experience. However, only six per cent of that is down to ageing and maturity.

There’s reason to believe that the number of crashes involving the youngest age groups has substantially dropped, with accident rates for 17 to 20-year-old car drivers falling by almost half (49 per cent) and by a third for 21 to 29-year-olds.

Factors that resulted in a higher rate of crashes amongst younger people included inexperience and poor judgement of challenging driving conditions, such as poor weather/visibility, and lifestyle factors, like social driving at night and weekends when alcohol and peer pressure affect where and how young people drive.

Sarah Sillars, chief executive of IAM RoadSmart, said the report provided useful insights in to how young drivers were gaining the necessary experience to drive safely.

“However, analysing the results, it is vital that government, road safety bodies and the driver instruction industry work together to generate new strategies to target those skills that are not being learned at the fastest rate,” she commented.

Molly Benton, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “In the formative years of driving, post-test training needs to continue in a bid to develop vital experience that can reduce the number of needless tragedies on UK roads.”