New drivers too nervous to brave the motorway

09 October 2017

  • It takes new drivers 18 weeks to pluck up the courage to drive on the motorway
  • 22% of Brits said driving on the motorway makes them feel nervous
  • Because of this, 79% welcome the upcoming change in motorway driving laws

Following the announcement that learner drivers will be allowed on the motorway in a matter of months, a new study from Co-op insurance reveals that a fifth of drivers still feel nervous driving on the motorway.

The new study, conducted among UK drivers, reveals that that on average, Brits took as long as 18 weeks before taking to the motorway after passing their test, with over a fifth (22%) admitting that doing so makes them feel nervous.

A further 12% said that driving on the motorway made them feel intimidated and 13% said they were bored when driving on the motorway.

It’s for this reason, more than three quarters (79%) of drivers have welcomed the change, which will see learner drivers allowed to take lessons on the motorway from 2018.

Of those who support the law change, two fifths (42%) believe that it will give new drivers more confidence on the motorway and a third (37%) said it will help to keep roads safer.

When asked what their biggest concern was when driving on the motorway, more than two fifths (43%) of UK drivers said they worried about being tailgated, two fifths (39%) worried about driving in the rain, and a third (34%) worried about other drivers drifting into their lane.

A third (32%) worried about breaking down on the motorway, a third (32%) are concerned about being caught in a high speed collision and three tenths (30%) worry about lorry drivers not being able to see other vehicles.

Top 10 biggest motorway fears:

  1. 43% - Being tailgated
  2. 39% - Visibility in the rain
  3. 34% - Other vehicles drifting into another lane
  4. 32% - Breaking down
  5. 32% - Being caught in a high speed collision
  6. 30% - Lorry drivers not being able to see other vehicles
  7. 27% - Tire blow-outs
  8. 20% - Road rage
  9. 19% - Being able to concentrate
  10. 18% - Missing my exit

In anticipation of these changes, Co-op Insurance is testing motorists’ existing motorway knowledge through an interactive quiz, with a view to increasing people’s understanding of motorway driving.

Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at Co-op Insurance commented:

“Almost a third of the young driver accidents that we see happen between one and six months of them passing their driving test. In the main, this is due to lack of experience on the road.

“Therefore, if taking lessons on the motorway early on helps to build confidence in new drivers then it can only be a good thing, for both them and other road users.

“Evidently, the motorway can be an intimidating place and the fact that 22% of drivers feel nervous when driving on them is concerning.

“We look forward to welcoming these changes next year and hope to see more drivers building confidence and helping to make and keep our roads safe.”

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the Road Safety Charity said:

“Young drivers are involved in a high proportion of crashes that kill and seriously injure because of inexperience and the tendency of some to take risks.

“Improved training before and after getting a licence is essential to improving road safety. The introduction of motorway driving lessons is a welcomed step, but there needs to be much wider reform to the learning to drive system. This could include a minimum learning period and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers, such as a late night curfew.

“This graduated driver licensing approach has helped dramatically reduce road casualties in countries including Australia, and could save lives here in the UK too.”


Media Contacts

Emily Penkett
Press and Media Relations Manager
Mobile: 07738621201

Rosie Brierley
Press Officer
Mobile: 07834446709

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Notes to Editors

*Study of 2000 UK drivers conducted by Atomik on behalf of Co-op Insurance

For more information on Co-op Insurance visit of follow @coopukinsurance

About Co-op Insurance:

Co-op Insurance is part of Co-op Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. Alongside Co-op Insurance, we have the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, and a developing legal services business.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.