RAC Cars News


Would you pass the driving test today?

By raccars Published

A study by a driving school company has shown that an astonishing, and rather worrying 75% of experienced drivers would fail their driving test, if asked to sit it today. The company invited 50 seasoned drivers to take a mock test and reported that only 12 passed. The 38 who failed recorded an average of 16 minor faults and three major ones. The worst performances included one participant who committed 10 major faults and another who made 42 minor errors. Major faults are those adjudged to put the test vehicle occupants, the public or property at risk.

The pass or fail criteria for an official test would see a candidate fail after committing one major fault. Those accumulating more than 15 minor faults during their test would also fail. The drivers were given no tuition before their mock tests and some committed basic errors, such as driving at 40mph where the speed limit was 30mph and kerbing the test car while performing a three-point turn. One of the test guinea pigs caused a pedestrian to leap back onto the pavement, after failing to check the test car’s blind spots. The most common faults included failure to check mirrors, speeding and poor reverse parking. Proper gear selection was also an issue, with one motorist recording 14 minor faults just for gear misuse. The tests were not official, so the licences of those who failed were not affected.

Other driving studies have shown that the increase in technology in our cars could be a problem. Systems such as satellite navigation, blind spot monitors and parking sensors, could be leading to more complacent driving as we depend on the technology to keep us safe, rather than being alert to danger. One study showed that drivers with satellite navigation spent 22% of their driving time looking at the screen rather than the road ahead. A survey of 4,000 British drivers found that around half used satellite navigation, with two thirds using a driving aid of some sort.

Motoring commentators have accepted that proper use of driving aids can be beneficial, leading to a less stressful, more comfortable and even safer driving experience. It appears, however, that over-reliance on such systems can have just the opposite effect, resulting in a loss of concentration and a reduction in driving ability. Whether technology alone can be blamed for 75% of experienced motorists failing a driving test is another matter, but the figures would indicate that not all of us are as capable drivers as we believe ourselves to be.

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