When surveyed, drivers often agree that the DVSA driving test should be more comprehensive, covering motorway driving and other areas, and that lessons should include driving after dark and in bad weather. However, not many of us would agree to go back to school ourselves and retake the theory or practical test.
How would we fare if we did? After all, many of the people driving new and used cars on the UK’s roads today would have passed before the section on greener driving was added to the test, and a large number of passes also predate the hazard perception and theory tests.
Now, research carried out by the Young Driver training scheme has revealed that many of us lack confidence in our driving skills. As many as one driver in five believes that they would fail the driving test if they were made to retake it with no preparation, and the percentage rises to nearly one in four for the over 65 demographic.
More than a quarter of the drivers surveyed expressed concern about parallel parking and reverse parking, with many admitting they would choose a parking spot further from their destination if was easier to get into. Women drivers were less confident than males about their skills in these areas.
Manoeuvres like parallel parking and turning around in the road form part of the practical test, and learner drivers are trained to execute them, but often avoid having to carry them out after a pass. These exercises form what may be the most feared section of the practical test, so it is unsurprising that many of us do not practise them after passing, and that the carefully learned ability is lost through lack of use.
Perhaps this is what has led the motor trade to invest so heavily in technology like parking sensors and rear view cameras. Quick and easy parking in difficult spaces seems to be high on everyone’s wish list when they’re checking out the latest offerings on trade plates.