Young drivers can't take the pressure

Back to school, says international study

International study finds that young drivers are not prepared for high-stress driving conditions, such as over the Easter weekend.
Goodyear Study

A recent international survey conducted by tyre manufacturer, Goodyear, into the behaviour of young drivers suggests that they are not adequately prepared for high stress motoring such as over Easter weekends and should consider going back to driving school to hone their skills,

The survey's results say South African senior traffic and transport officials are reporting that motorists on long-distance trips have driven more carefully this year, resulting in a reduced number of accidents and deaths, but as motorists flocked home on Monday night the statistics continued to climb.

The Minister of Transport, Ben Martins, called for cautionary driving and an obedience of the rules of the road – traits that Goodyear’s recent Road Safety Survey has revealed are lacking in the on-road mindset of South Africa’s young drivers.

“Our study was specifically designed to explore a wide range of factors from driver training through to general concerns amongst young drivers,” said Lize Hayward, Goodyear South Africa Group Brand Communications Manager.

“As part of Goodyear’s commitment to understand and address driver safety, it probed the behaviour of 6 400 drivers under the age of 25.

“The survey covered 16 markets (15 European countries and, for the first time, South Africa) and was designed to get inside the brains of young drivers and shed light on their behaviour.

"South Africans scored highest in several misbehaviours, including speeding up to make it through an orange traffic light (83% vs 73% global average) and weaving from lane to lane in order to get ahead (48% vs 28% global average,” Hayward said.

Goodyear’s study showed that 90% of young South Africans are fully comfortable to drive on their own after completing their training – the highest score among the surveyed countries (global average: 78%).

Yet more than a third admitted that if they were to take their driving test again, they would not pass it (37% vs global average: 27%).

In South Africa, 82% of young drivers passed their theoretical test on the first try (global average: 84%) while 59% succeeded in passing their practical test on the first attempt (global average: 68%).

At the same time, 79% of them believe that many people in South Africa give bribes to obtain a licence more easily. Nationally speaking, 76% say it is very expensive to get a licence.

When driving training has been insufficient, the mindset seems to be that experience helps to compensate.

Only 44% of young South Africans learnt to drive in heavy rain when there is a risk of aquaplaning, yet 85% say they are comfortable driving under heavy rain today.

Similarly, only 39% learnt to drive at night time – not surprising as most lessons take place during the day – but 90% declare they are comfortable doing so.

Emergency manoeuvre training has been given to 58% of young drivers and 89% said they were comfortable with it at the time of survey.

In addition to a low level of knowledge of some of the trickier elements of driving, it seems that young drivers are not well trained in some of the wider motoring skills either.

Of those surveyed, South Africans are most anxious about security issues, such as breaking down in an unsafe part of town (78% vs 45% global average) or being hi-jacked (71% vs 38% global average).

Yet only 23% of South African youngsters were taught to change a tyre during their driving training (even lower globally at 20%), 34% learnt the frequency of car check-ups, and anti-hijacking or security awareness seems only to be taught on specialist courses.

“Young people are disproportionately involved in road accidents and fatalities, making it crucial to ensure that they are trained adequately in driving school.

"With safety at the core of our tradition, Goodyear works with the European Driving Schools Association in Europe, the Volkswagen Driving Academy in South Africa and Goodyear 4x4 Academy in the Western Cape, to provide young people with more training on driving safely and responsibly, as well as ensuring optimal knowledge and maintenance of their cars and tyres.

“Recollection of skills learned in driver training is governed by the hippocampus in the temporal lobe of the brain, which is associated with learning and memory.

"Young drivers who have never learned or who have forgotten core driving skills arguably need a refresher course to prompt their memories and make them more confident drivers,” Hayward said.

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