Female drivers most likely to say “Face your fears!”
In October, we asked our drivers about the anxieties they felt about facing the road alone.
The road safety world talks about the danger new drivers face all the time but it doesn't discuss how we actually FEEL about it.
Spoiler: we feel scared.
So, we asked our drivers to share those fears and also give us advice they wish they'd had when they first started driving alone. Here are the results.
Biggest fear while learning to drive
The biggest fear for learners overall is - no surprise - failing the driving test. But, when you split by gender, female drivers are much more afraid of making other drivers angry than male drivers, who are more worried about failing the test.
Crashing is low on the list of fears for both (far below stalling!), which kind of makes sense: you probably shouldn’t feel in danger while you’re with your instructor. On the other hand, maybe the seriousness of being in charge of a potentially deadly weapon should be felt a bit more.
Interestingly, only 2% of females are afraid of how much learning to drive costs, while 13% of males say this is their biggest fear. Could these results mean there's less financial support offered to young male drivers? Definitely a bias parents should be aware of.
What we're scared of while we learn to drive
- Making other drivers angry - 29%
- Failing the driving test - 21%
- Stalling - 18%
- Rolling back on hills - 17%
- Crashing - 15%
- Cost of learning - 2%
- Failing the driving test - 25%
- Stalling - 18%
- Making other drivers angry - 17%
- Rolling back on hills - 14%
- Cost of learning - 13%
- Crashing - 12%
Biggest fear as a qualified driver
For newly-qualified drivers at the age of 17, the biggest fear is hurting someone. Past that though, every other age group is most afraid of danger from other drivers, except for 20-year-olds, who most fear losing their licence.
So, the overall feeling here is that other drivers are the biggest danger on the road. A recent study at James Cook University in Australia showed that most drivers don't believe they have control over whether they get into a crash or not - but they do think they have control over getting points on their licence.
We can't control how other drivers behave but we CAN control how we react; too many drivers are not taking responsibility for their own safety. Maybe drivers would feel less afraid if they did.
What we most fear as qualified drivers
- Danger from other drivers - 26%
- Driving on motorways - 13%
- Driving in bad weather - 13%
- Hurting someone - 12%
- Losing licence - 11%
- Damaging own car - 6%
- Claiming on insurance - 5%
- Parking - 5%
- Damaging someone else's car - 3%
- Getting a driving conviction - 2%
- Getting bad driving feedback - 2%
- Danger from other drivers - 24%
- Having to claim on insurance - 15%
- Losing licence - 13%
- Damaging your car - 12%
- Hurting someone - 10%
- Getting bad driving feedback - 7%
- Damaging someone else's car - 5%
- Getting a driving conviction - 5%
- Driving on motorways - 3%
- Parking - 3%
- Driving in bad weather - 2%
Best advice for getting over driving fears by gender
Interestingly, female drivers are far more likely to advise new drivers to challenge themselves in facing their fears than males.
Both male and female drivers put talking to parents as the least useful way to get over driving fears, which is a shame and definitely something we'd want to help change.
Male drivers think talking to other drivers can help them get over driving fears more than females drivers do, but girls rate the support of driving with a sidekick higher.
- Challenging yourself to face your fears - 33%
- Getting more driving practice - 20%
- Driving with a sidekick - 16%
- Driving feedback and advice - 12%
- Talking to other drivers - 8%
- Reading stuff about driving - 7%
- Talking to parents - 5%
- Getting more driving practice - 26%
- Challenging yourself to face your fears - 25%
- Driving feedback and advice - 16%
- Talking to other drivers - 11%
- Driving with a sidekick - 10%
- Reading stuff about driving - 9%
- Talking to parents - 3%
What's the one thing you wish wasn't as scary about driving?
"Parking in really busy places. Parallel parking is impossible when you're nervous and rushing!"
"Drivers being unpredictable is scary, I wish we were all a bit more consistent."
"Driving on the motorway between lorries. I wish they had their own lane lol."
"Driving on new roads and in new places by myself."
"People getting too close to my car and beeping at me when I have to do the 20mph in a 20 zone. It gets very intimidating and makes me not want to drive sometimes."
What's your best advice for a new driver?
"Take your time - don't rush for anyone."
You learn the most when you start on your own."
Just keep concentrating on the road and your surroundings, and you'll be OK.
Take deep breaths and remember you wouldn't have passed your test if you couldn't do this.
The more you drive, the better you get and the easier it becomes!
There is less pressure and distraction if you're alone. Focus on getting where you're going.
Everyone makes mistakes. It's how you handle a situation that makes you a better driver.
Keep the radio off for a few alone trips and get a feel for your car.