The 3 Areas The Government Wants New Drivers To Practice More
The UK Government has set out its Road Action Safety plan and it features many actions the government is taking to try and improve road safety. One area they are looking at is new drivers experiences on the road. Around 1 in 5 new drivers are involved in some sort of collision within their first year on the road. It is believed that this number can be reduced if new drivers are encouraged to explore new areas to drive and drive in different conditions. They have identified 3 areas that learners would particularly benefit from focusing on. They are:
- Driving On Country Roads
- Driving At Night
- Driving Independently
Driving On Country Roads
Nearly 11,000 people were killed or seriously injured in police-reported accidents in 2017 on country roads. This is 10 times higher than those reported on motorways in the same period. Almost 20% of new drivers say they have spent less than 2 hour practicing on country roads and 10% say they have never practiced on country roads.
The speed limit combined with the twisting nature of country roads can be a lethal combination. It should also be remember that country roads are often less likely to have been treated in icy conditions than those roads found in populated areas.
The government wants 74.3% of new drivers to have spent 2 or more hours learning on country roads before their test. They have set a target of 30th September 2020 to reach this level.
Driving At Night
Many of the worst collisions take place between Midnight and 6am. Often this can be due to lack of experience driving at night and tiredness. 17% of learners say they have never practised in the dark. It is also important to remember that at different times of year, conditions can change drastically during the night so the lack of light may not be the only challenge. You also will possibly have to contend with more slippery conditions.
83% of learners said they spent some time practicing in the dark before they took their tests. The government wants this to increase to 91.5% before 30th September 2020.
During the practical learning part of a new drivers career can feel like a safe space with an experienced instructor sat next to them but that can change when all of a sudden they pass their test and are then out on their own and having to worry about busy roads whilst also trying to read road signs or potentially reading a Sat Nav. As part of the test now, learners will have to spend some time driving independently. Examiners will ask the learners to drive either following signs or a Sat Nav to demonstrate that they can drive safely whilst navigating to represent real world conditions. Just over 55% of learners said they spent more than 4 hours driving independently before their test. The government hasn’t specified a target for 30th September 2020 yet. This is because they want to clarify exactly how the term “independent driving” is interpreted.