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Average driver takes three years to feel confident behind the wheel

The average new driver only feels truly confident after three years behind the wheel and after clocking up more than 20,000 miles*, new research by The Co-operative Insurance reveals.

According to the study into driving confidence, it also takes the average motorist four months to pluck up the courage to drive on a motorway and four and a half months before they feel ready to drive long distances.

It also takes three months before new drivers will attempt to park in a multi-storey car park and two months before they'll leave their local neighbourhood.

The study also reveals that even long after passing their driving test, many drivers still struggle to get to grips with the road, with motorway driving a cause for worry amongst a quarter (25%) of motorists. Night-time driving is another confidence barrier, as nearly a third (30%) of people struggle to drive in the dark. A quarter (25%) of drivers also say they lack confidence in their ability to park.

Amy Kilmartin, Young Driver insurance manager at The Co-operative, said: "Our findings remind us that the road can be a daunting place for new drivers and that many motorists lack confidence despite clocking up hundreds of miles on the road. This shows that whilst driving lessons give people the basics in how to drive, the real learning and confidence-building only happens when the L plates are removed."

And when it comes to the sexes, men have more confidence behind the wheel than women do, with eight in 10 men (80%) agreeing that they are confident drivers compared to just six in 10 women (64%).

According to the findings, men also believe they get to grips with the road quicker than women, with just one in five males (19%) believing that it takes 'a long time' to master the road compared to more than one in four (28%) females.

Whilst men have more confidence in their driving abilities, The Co-operative Insurance's own data shows that women drive more safely. According to information collected from its Young Driver insurance scheme, which gives discounts to motorists who drive well, twice the number of new female drivers get the top score for good driving compared to new male drivers.**

The Young Driver scheme uses telematics or 'black box' technology to measure how well a car is driven. The Co-operative then provides feedback on driving behaviour and rewards good driving with cash-back.

Amy Kilmartin said: "New drivers tell us that they like getting feedback on their driving in those crucial first few months after passing their test when they take to the roads on their own."

"By giving regular feedback and guidance on how to improve driving as well as by rewarding good driving with cash-back, we want to help create a generation of safe young drivers who can tackle the road with the right level of confidence."

An analysis of 10,000 young driver claims by The Co-operative Insurance shows that those with telematics insurance are 20 per cent less likely to have a car crash than those with standard insurance.***

The scheme is also helping to save motorists save money. The average Young Driver Insurance premium for 17 to 22 year olds is £1,345 – over £400 cheaper less than the average premium of £1,753.**** Customers with the Young Driver scheme will earn 20% of their initial premium back in discounts if they achieve a top score of five for their overall driving performance.


* Survey of 2,000 motorists carried out by One Poll for The Co-operative Insurance. According to the research, the average motorist drives 7,451 miles a year and takes three years to feel confident about driving (7,451 x 3)

** Data collated from 389 17 and 18 year old customers with Young Driver telematics insurance

*** Data compares a sample of insurers with Young Driver insurance to a sample of the same aged drivers with The Co-operative’s standard insurance

**** According to the latest AA Premium Index, April 2013: The average ‘shoparound’ premium for 17 to 22 year olds is £1,753.69. This is based on the average of the five cheapest insurance premiums for that age group.