Tag Archives: learner drivers

Is our driving test failing young drivers?

learner_continentaltyresFour in ten new young drivers admit they are unsafe on the road and two thirds of parents agree with them according to a new report released today.

With a revised driving test planned and the theory test now 20 years old, 47 per cent of drivers aged 17 to 24 think that they are not being taught enough about road safety.

Road accidents are the biggest killer of young people and new research reveals 800,000 young motorists think that they have an inadequate level of road safety knowledge. 

The UK research of 1,000 motorists aged 17 to 24 and 1,000 parents of young drivers as part of Continental Vision Zero, a campaign that strives for improved road safety, found that 50 per cent of young motorists would not know where to start with basics like checking their tyres.

Less than half of young road users know what the legal tyre tread limit is and only one in five have no idea what solution, such as a spare tyre, they have available in an event of a puncture.

Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres, said: “Every day in the UK, around nine people die or are seriously injured from a road accident that involves a young car driver. It is vital for 17 to 24 year olds to receive adequate road safety information as they learn to drive, setting them up for a lifetime of safe motoring.”

Shortcomings in the practical driving test

Changes to the practical driving test following the recent consultation include increasing the time of independent driving to 20 minutes, following directions from a sat nav during independent driving, replacing manoeuvres such as reversing around a corner with more common moves such as parking in a bay and asking one of the two vehicle safety questions (e.g. how to use the rear heated screen) while driving.

But parents are also in need of road safety education yet there is no practical driving test or educational solution for them.

When asked about a tyre’s legal tread depth limit, parents were 30 per cent less likely than their children to know the correct answer – only three in ten parents knew it is 1.6mm.

Reflecting their driver failings, one in five young motorists don’t know how to open their car bonnet and a third have no idea how to top up their screen wash.

As agreed by young drivers, the top solutions for improving their safety and that of others are better education (70 per cent), more enforcement such as harsher penalties (38 per cent) and making routine safety checks a feature of the driving test (36 per cent).


FOXY Lady Drivers Club can help motoring Mums and daughters who may be learning to drive with motoring related advice. When it comes to tyre safety we are particularly active. Why not consider joining us or buying Club membership including preferential car insurance for women from sister company FOXY Lady Insurance among other benefits?

Driving experience makes women better and safer drivers

FOXY Lady Guest Blog This is a Guest Blog on behalf of the AA.

A recent study by the Driving Standards Agency has shed new light on the difficulties facing learner drivers, and highlighted the differences between the sexes when it comes to making rookie mistakes. The figures from the study have once again stirred up the age-old question of which sex is better at driving.

One of the answers that this study gives is that, after they’ve passed their tests, women become increasingly better drivers and are 20 per cent safer than men.

On average, more young women pass the theory driving test than young men. Although women are most likely to fail their tests due to manoeuvring errors such as bad reverse parking, failing to steer correctly and poor gear changes, after they have passed the test and gain more driving experience, they build more confidence and master these skills.

Men were found to be failing for losing track of the speed they were going, or simply for going too fast. This is why male drivers tend to be less safe on the road than female drivers. Learning to drive safely and monitor their speed will help keep them safe further down the line – as well as lowering the cost of car insurance when the time comes!

Have A Good Breakfast Before Your Driving Test

breakfast2An important tip for those preparing to pass their driving test is to eat a good breakfast before. Drivers who had eaten performed 30 per cent better in a driving simulation than those who hadn’t.

So if you are going to take your driving test, remember to get a good start to you day with a proper breakfast, despite the nerves.

Lack of food leads to low blood sugar which can affect the ability to concentrate, as well as bring on physical symptoms such as trembling and blurred vision, so advice recommends even if you only manage to eat something like a banana, you’ll be doing yourselves a big favour.

Although some of these tips are common sense, keeping abreast of studies like the DSA’s could have real practical value. Knowing what aspects of driving are most problematic will surely help both driving instructors and learners.

Why do more men pass the driving test first time?

The age old stereotype that men are better drivers than women is one we’ve been trying to quash for years, but there’s no denying the driving test statistics are against us. Whether it’s sheer competitive drive, testosterone or purely luck, boys are more likely to pass their driving test first time than girls.

In this article from miDrive.com we take a look at why this might be and whether or not passing the test first time really means that you’re a better driver.

The facts

Last year’s statistics from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) show pass rates to be higher for men than women at almost every test centre in England, Scotland and Wales. Whilst the 2012 national pass rate for males, through April to September, was 50.8%, the national pass rate for females during the same time period was 44.2%.

Even more tellingly, 50.8% of males taking their test, in the UK between 2011-2012 passed their driving test first time, whilst only 44.3% females achieved the same feat.


We all know that nerves make us do silly things, and the driving test is no exception. Whether it’s testosterone, adrenaline, or an indestructible competitive streak, nerves – generally speaking – appear to affect women more than men. When nerves come into the equation, it’s very easy to allow them to take over, and that’s when mistakes can happen.

Unfortunately, pressure is an intrinsic part of the driving test. There’s no avoiding it, and coping with it can be a challenge. Finding the right balance of determination and a cool-head is something which both sexes struggle with on the driving test, but research tells us that men deal with pressure with a show of strength; facing up to challenges. Women, on the other hand, are more methodical.

Who takes more lessons?

Statistics show that men take fewer driving lessons than women, but this doesn’t necessarily make them better drivers. We all learn in our own time, and depending on how anxious a learner is when they get behind the wheel, they might have more personal hurdles to overcome.

The amount of lessons a learner driver takes also depends upon their personal circumstances. Whilst a 17 year old might have school or college to fit lessons around, a parent might struggle to fit them in around childcare arrangements. The bigger the gaps between each driving lesson, the longer you will take to pass, regardless of your on-road ability.

So, who are the better drivers?

There’s always going to be cases for both sides, but statistics point to females as safer motorists. As we all know, up until recently, young men were paying more for their insurance because of these figures, despite them being more likely to pass their test first time.

Interestingly, statistics also show that women are more likely to pass their theory test, with 63.74% of females passing in 2011/12, compared to a pass rate of 58.09% for males in the same time period. This not only shows that females’ mental attitudes to driving and knowledge of the Highway Code edges out the men’s, but it also demonstrates that they work well under a different kind of pressure. Although the practical test is hands on, the theory test tests foresight and mental processes.

It’s impossible to single out every driver’s on-road ability based on their gender, but it’s also important to note that whether a driver passed their test first time or not isn’t a good way to gauge it either. Whether men are better drivers than women is a debate which is sure to rumble on for years to come, but we hope we’ve dispelled some driving test gender myths here!

Guest blog

This guest post was written and researched by Isabelle Guarella.

Isabelle is a writer for miDrive.com; a site which helps learner drivers to find and compare local driving instructors.

Young female drivers insurance deterrent

Now that the EU is dictating common-rated gender car insurance premiums in future, fewer young women drivers will be able to afford to learn to drive and those that can will surely face the full force of motor insurance scams which are more likely to be caused by and involve men.

According to Confused.com the average fully comprehensive car insurance premium rose by 38% in 2010 and now stands at £695. These rates are influenced by the fact that 15% of young drivers currently cause 31% of all accidents leading to 40% of all motor insurance claims. As things stand, the average premium for a 17-20 year old male is currently a staggering £2,976 and for women £1,694. Come December 2012 women will pay considerably more than they do now and men slightly less we think – either way this is more than most young drivers will pay for their first car.

Which is why I see this as the equivalent of a new and unfair ‘tax’ on young females in particular from working and middle class families, facing higher University fees on the horizon and who probably can’t afford to drive in future now that the cost of insurance will rise so much. The truth is that  children from more wealthy families stand a much better chance of their parents paying for their car, their insurance and their education. Which seems unfair to me.

No wonder insurers are worried if fewer (of the safer) motorists can afford their products in future.

The reason car insurance premiums have risen so much for men and women drivers alike is to pay for accidents caused by uninsured drivers, for staged ‘cash for crash’ accidents and the ever increasing practice of submitting fraudulent claims. All of these have a self fulfilling and cyclical feel to them in that the higher the premiums, the more appealing it is to drive uninsured or to prepare a fraudulent claim; therefore the higher the premiums need to be to pay for them and so on…

Confused.com wants better data sharing between the DVLA and insurers to help reduce instances of fraud. Quite right. They also want the test to be harder but we see this as a crude method to clobber young women again when we aren’t the real risk on the roads. It’s the young men who cause the majority of serious accidents remember, being much more confident drivers more likely to put their foot down, and who tend to pass the test after fewer lessons than more cautious women. Which is perhaps why we are the safer drivers I feel.

So any attempt to make the driving test tougher for us is likely to hit young women harder than young men; and cost us even more to pass than it does already.

This is all such a mess.

In an attempt to be seen as politically correct when dealing with Mars and Venus matters we are clobbering less confident and more cautious young women drivers when we should be tackling the more accident-prone male mindset here. We should rate men as the known risk they are, invest some of their premium in gender marketing & education and reward the god male drivers. Is that so very difficult to do? And similarly with women…

Just don’t rate women the same as men when we aren’t.

Making the driving test harder, re-assessing the Pass Plus scheme, getting insurers to offer discounts for those who have had additional training and increasing the use of telematics devices (which Aviva pioneered and discontinued for cost reasons…) should all be reviewed of course.

But the penalty for being caught driving uninsured is ludicrously low – a maximum £1,000 with an actual average fine of £200. When they have saved so much money on not being insured? Who thought that formula up I wonder?

We should all be expected to wear our insurance on our windscreens like tax and any car with out of date or non existent evidence of insurance (this applies to SORN’d cars too I believe) should be reported by passing motorists. The penalties need to be a lot more realistic and punitive. If it was down to me I’d confiscate cars and licenses and make those that offend pay the costs of doing this.

Something needs to be done to stop women becoming the soft target for even more unfair increases in their insurance.


If you feel this is unfair, please join FOXY Lady Drivers Club and add your voice to ours – women drivers need to be heard not forgotten after the EU ruling.

Free car checks for women drivers

According to the Driving Standards Agency one in eight learner drivers, including female motorists, don’t know how to (or want to perhaps) carry out basic maintenance on their cars.

Comma Oils have picked up on this, to recommend that drivers, male and female, should pay more attention to simple vehicle checks such as inspecting oil levels.

I agree and know from my experience within FOXY Lady Driver Club just how expensive this engine neglect can be.

But my main concern, as always, is to do with the fact that many learner drivers cannot afford new or nearly new cars and, without appreciating the safety imperative, may choose to scrimp and save on maintenance including checking their tyres and getting their car serviced regularly, not realising that their car might be dangerous as a result.

And too few motorists, men and women drivers alike, check before buying a used car to see if it has been regularly maintained and serviced. They are more inclined to judge the car by its looks and price; often oblivious to the fact that a neglected car will let them down soon and expensively – it’s just a question of time.

More worryingly vehicle safety is rarely addressed by those who buy new cars either – many  drivers (not just women) treat their new car much as they do a household appliance. Enjoy it when it’s new and under warranty then sell it and get a new one. In the case of the car (and pre-recession of course…)  this used to be just before it comes of MOT age!

No wonder many cars fail their first MOT after such treatment.

All this (but the safety reason mainly), is why FOXY membership includes free car fitness checks so that busy women who appreciate all this but prefer to get the professionals to do this for them, can pop along to their nearest FOXY listed, female friendly garage to get this done for them.

And because they have signed the FOXY Promise, they can be trusted to look after the female motorist and not overcharge them.

Job done, car safe, engine taken care of, value preserved… sounds the foxy formula to me!