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Young drivers identify overconfidence as a factor in crashes

A study based on self-reporting from young drivers reveals that many are overestimating their abilities as drivers, but recognise that overconfidence is a problem that could be dangerous.

Nottinghamshire Road Safety Partnership used an online survey to collect information on the behaviour of these drivers and their passengers:

  • 50% of all respondents felt they were better at driving than their friends, but 63% of males said they were more skilled than their peers.

  • 86% of males and 63% of females claimed to know exactly what risks they could take when overtaking.

  • More than a third of passengers said they had felt uneasy when travelling with a young driver - 23% admitting to feeling 'worried'. Despite this, 20% felt they might not speak up even if they felt scared by a friend's driving.

  • 70% of respondents said their parents didn't place any restrictions on their driving.

What the numbers mean

Many respondents identified overconfidence as a cause of young driver crashes - while displaying overconfidence themselves in answering other questions - and felt that one of the best ways to combat this would be better driver education and more training, possibly in schools.

This shows more than ever that awareness is key: young drivers are aware of the issues involved in driver behaviour - and yet don't associate the dangers with themselves or don't feel able to address them in front of their peers.

More support at school, more support at home

The education young drivers feel is needed would be an opportunity to show them the consequences of poor decisions on the road, and the likelihood of being involved if they don't have the right attitude towards driving. Could driver education in school also serve to remove some of the 'grown-up' mystique attached to driving?

The lack of parental influence shown by this study is a cause for concern. While passing the driving test and getting a car is an important part of becoming an adult, young drivers clearly need more support from their parents - the kind of support that doesn't necessarily fit into the recommended 45 hours with an instructor.

Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .