Motorists pick up bad habits 10 weeks after passing their testWed, 11/07/2018
New drivers must reach a good level of competence on the roads in order to pass their test, but new research has found that it isn’t long before they forget what they have learned and start to pick up bad habits.
Emma Elsworthy, The Independent, reports:
It takes motorists just 10 weeks to become a “bad driver" after passing their test, according to a new poll.
A survey of 2,000 car owners found the average new road user lets bad habits creep in less than three months after ripping the L-plates off.
And one in 10 admitted they began to forget what they learned two weeks or less after passing their test.
Not holding the steering wheel in the correct ‘10 to 2' position and failing to check their mirrors every time they make a manoeuvre were among the earliest flaws to emerge, while 40 per cent of women believed they had developed bad habits since passing their test, compared to just 32 per cent of men.
The study found women admitted one of their biggest flaws was reaching into their bag to rummage for something while men confessed to tailgating and even running a red light days after passing their tests.
“Passing your driving test is, for many people, one of the hardest things they’ll ever have to do," said David Carter for Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research. “And for many of us, that testing day could have come years or even decades ago – plenty of time for bad habits to creep in.
“Lots of drivers are happy to admit to bad practices when behind the wheel, most of which are harmless. But it’s important to stay vigilant with observation and safety, as letting your guard down for too long could result in an accident.”
The survey found on average it takes just four and a half months to become a “middle-lane hogger” on the motorway, while others admitted to putting their safety at risk by driving without a seatbelt on the odd occasion, less than four months of having their full licence.
The poll also showed it takes just over five months for drivers to feel comfortable fumbling in their bag for something while driving.
The average driver will have run a red light within five months and six days of passing their test, while illegal U-turns take place after five months and nine days.
Fifty-three per cent of respondents agreed that they have more bad driving habits now than the day they passed their test.
David Carter added: “Bad driving habits can compromise safety and the research suggests it’s all too easy to let our driving standards slip.”
Bad habits can be difficult to break, and could even put drivers into dangerous or disastrous situations. Drivers who are continuously making mistakes or carrying out risky manoeuvres may want to consider taking refresher lessons to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users.