Parking the fear for young drivers

25 July 2017

• 90% of young drivers experience nervousness / worries when driving
• 36% of young drivers agree parking is their biggest driving fear
• Young drivers in Glasgow have the most driving fears

Parking in small spaces has been revealed as young drivers’ biggest driving fear, with over a third (36%) stating nervousness around this manoeuvre, according to a new study released today by Co-op Insurance.*

Top Driving Fears % of young drivers with this fear
Parking in small spaces 36%
Other drivers on the road 34%
Parallel parking 29%
Big Roundabouts 22%
Pulling onto a motorway 16%
Driving on a motorwary 16%
Reversing into a parking space 14%
Reversing 12%
Country Roads 11%
Changing Lanes 11%

Highlighting parking as a general fear among young drivers, over a quarter (29%) say they worry about parallel parking and a sixth (14%) are hesitant about reversing into a parking space.

Furthermore, other drivers on the roads (34%) big roundabouts (22%) and pulling onto a motorway (16%) also feature in the top 5 fears for young drivers.

Currently, of those young drivers who say parking in small spaces worries them (36%), half (51%) of these drivers said that this was not addressed in their driving tests.

However, in less than six months, the driving test will be changed, and include new reversing manoeuvres such as parking in a bay via reversing in and driving out, or driving in and reversing out.**

Overall the research reveals the vast majority (90%) of young drivers experience nervousness or worries when driving and just 1 in 10 (9%) of young drivers say they don’t have any concerns when driving.

When looking at the difference between young female and male drivers, male drivers are three times more likely to state that they have no driving fears, when compared with females.

The research is revealed following Co-op’s announcement of the top 5 safest used first cars for young drivers in partnership with Thatcham Research, of which the Skoda Citigo was announced as the safest used first car.***

James Hillon, Director of Products at Co-op Insurance said

“It’s vital that young drivers feel equipped to drive on the roads. Two fifths (40%) of young drivers have been involved in some sort of road traffic incident where they were the driver.

“It’s for this reason that we’re committed to helping to make and keep communities safe. Last year we campaigned for changes to the driving test and I’m so pleased that the DVLA will make some of these changes later this year. We’re also set to host a YouTube live stream among young drivers to further support them on their journey to becoming confident and safe on the roads."

Quentin Willson, Motoring Expert said:

“We need to do more to make young drivers feel safer on the roads and we can start by helping them learn better and choose safer cars. Co-op’s Top Five Safest Used Cars are all less than £5,000 proving that safety doesn’t have to cost bundles.’

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said:

“We need to help young drivers feel more confident when they pass their test and start driving on their own.

Passing a driving test is just the start of someone's driving career - it takes time to build confidence and experience behind the wheel. A review into current testing standards is needed and improvements need to be made to protect young drivers on our roads.”

Of the 40% of young drivers who have been involved in a road traffic incident, a fifth (20%) say it’s because they misjudged the distance and a tenth (11%) said it was because they lost control of the vehicle.

Parking Fear Hotspots

City % of young drivers with parking fear
Glasgow 50%
Bristol 44%
Edinburgh 41%
Cardiff 40%
Birmingham 39%
Norwhich 39%
Nottingham 38%
Southampton 38%
London 37%
Belfast 35%
Manchester 33%
Newcastle 30%
Leeds 31%
Sheffield 29%
Liverpool 27%
Plymouth 20%

Notes to Editors

*Research was carried out among 1000 young drivers on behalf of Co-op Insurance by Markettiers.

** The driving test is set to change on 4 December 2017 to include reversing manoeuvres and following a sat nav. Details can be found here:

*** Research was conducted by Thatcham Research on behalf of Co-op Insurance: The criteria meant that all cars needed to be in the Supermini category, have a five-star EURO NCAP rating, CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less, available to purchase on the second-hand market for £5.000 or less, and to have a low insurance group rating score.

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Catherine Turner
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About Co-op Insurance

Co-op Insurance is a UK-based general insurer that operates principally within the personal lines segments of the motor and home insurance markets. The Co op Insurance underwrites the majority of business written, supplemented with some small lines of business where The Co op Insurance acts as a distributor or has a 100% reinsurance arrangement in place.

With more than 1.18m customers, The Co op Insurance is committed to ‘Doing the Right Thing’ and always strives to treat customers and members fairly. The Co op Insurance pioneered the way in lowering the insurance premiums of young drivers as the first major insurer to launch a pay how you drive telematics insurance product for young drivers in 2011. Since launching the scheme, The Co op Insurance has saved its young drivers more than £7.2 million in their first year of driving.