In a recent poll of almost 300 learner drivers conducted by Marmalade, the specialist telematics insurer for young drivers, 54 per cent of respondents said they should be allowed to practice motorway driving before their test.
While learner drivers are expected to theoretically understand how to safely drive on motorways, they currently don’t obtain any practical experience before passing their tests.
This December, changes to the law mean that learners will have the option to take a motorway lesson when accompanied by a fully qualified approved driving instructor. While this is a welcome change to the curriculum, Marmalade CEO Crispin Moger fears that it isn’t enough.
Mr Moger said: “Our research and experience talking to young drivers suggest that driving tests aren’t properly equipping new drivers to handle today’s busy roads.
“All too often, drivers are taught to pass the test and not to drive in real-life situations. So much more could be done to teach young drivers to look further ahead and anticipate.”
Motorways are the safest roads in Britain, with only six per cent of all fatal accidents occurring on them.
However, many newly qualified drivers still are too scared to drive on motorways. This results in them spending more time on rural roads.
With narrow lanes, blind corners and slow-moving vehicles, these can be far more dangerous than the motorway: according to information published on GOV.UK, 80 per cent of young driver fatalities occur on rural roads.
Mr Moger added: “More needs to be done to ensure those passing their test are fit to drive in realistic conditions. They should be taught to handle corners properly on country roads and what to do if they skid.
“Sadly too many young drivers are killed or injured because they do not have the skills and experience to drive.”